Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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leslie frazier

At the moment, all seems well on the Percy Harvin front if you are a fan of, say, any of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

Us Vikings fans, however, we know better than to get comfortable with anything.  To us, if something looks stagnant, it is probably a ticking time bomb.  Like how nice that big inflatable roof looks?  Like the enthusiasm coming from the guys in that huddle… all twelve of them?  Like your chances on this Gary Anderson field goal attempt?

So, yeah, when sites like PFT or ESPN declare the Percy Harvin storyline “dead” all we Vikings fans are really going to do is sit on the edge of our seats and wait for this thing to blow up.

Rick Spielman, however, wants us to know that Percy Harvin’s previously stated discontent is something he, his staff, and the coaches are prepared to handle.

“There’s different personalities that you have to deal with on a daily basis, but when you look at Percy, what he brings to us on the field, how much passion he has to play football, he gives us a great opportunity to win on Sundays when he’s on the field,” Spielman said recently. “We try to know and understand when we draft a player, sign a player as a free agent, or bring a player into our organization, how we’re going to have to handle this player. Is he going to be handled differently? What do we have to do differently to handle a player? Those are a lot of pre-discussions that we have before we bring players in. And you just have to have a game plan if a guy has an issue or something and then try to work off that.”

“I know coach Frazier really met and sat and talked a lot with Percy. I dealt more with the business side of it and dealt with his agent, Joel Segal,” Spielman said. “As far as I know, the last dialogue I had, we’re expecting Percy to be at training camp and ready to go.”

We still don’t know, and possibly never will know, what caused Harvin’s outbursts last week and the reported request for a trade, but as of today it looks like Spielman and Frazier were able to tag team the issue effectively.

Training camp starts next month, however, and Harvin’s name will almost be the first one called during a much anticipated roll call.

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As Vikings minicamp gets underway, the team’s offensive line is expected to have a new look and improved production.

One position that is not expected to see turnover at the starting spot is right tackle, manned by Phil Loadholt who is in a contract year.  Leslie Frazier complimented Loadholts pass and run blocking abilities, but said that he needed to be more consistent.

Loadholt didn’t seem to mind Frazier’s public assessment and admitted that Frazier was exactly right.

“He hit it right on the head,” Loadholt said. “It’s something I am going to work on. In this league, anytime you do anything wrong with technique you can look bad. So I will continue to work on my technique and get all those things right.”

If Matt Kalil can improve the left tackle position and Loadholt does indeed progress his play, Christian Ponder and company could indeed be in for a fun season.

If not, well…

… It is June, I don’t want to think about that.

The good news:  Percy Harvin has reported to minicamp.

The bad news:  He doesn’t plan on practicing much.

The worse news:  He has hinted that a holdout could be in the near future.

According to multiple reports (transcript here), Harvin is unhappy with a number of different issues and insists that those issues need to be resolved prior to training camp.  He did not go into specifics, but it is understandably assumed by media types that Harvin’s main issue surrounds his contract status.

Harvin is set to make $915,000 this year and $1.55 million in 2013, his final year from the rookie deal he signed.  The money obviously does not match up with his on-field importance, as is often the case in situations where a rookie performs at a high level.

“I’ll just put it this way — it’s a lot of different things that have to be sorted out,” Harvin said. “Just haven’t been real happy lately. So, we’ve got a couple things to work on. I’m here in the classroom, so we’ll go from here.”

Leslie Frazier made some comments that pretty much just sidestepped the issue all together and he just said he was glad to have Harvin at the minicamp, and that he expects all of his players to report to minicamp.

I can understand the motivation for Harvin, who has had his fair share of health problems, to want to cash in on his success thus far in the NFL.  I can also see why the front office might be hesitant to invest a ton of money into an injury-prone receiver, especially when they can retain his rights for another two years or possibly even three.

Assuming that the issues really are contract related (key word: assuming), then I don’t really see how Harvin will win this battle if he decides to take the holdout route.  The Vikings are likely not going to have many qualms about getting their young receivers extra reps during practice periods (remember, Jarius Wright is thought to be capable of playing a similar role as Harvin), and Harvin will almost certainly have to report if the Vikings start docking his pay in the event of a lengthy holdout.

I see this less as something that is an issue right now and more of a preview of things to come… next offseason.

But, who knows, maybe this turns really ugly really fast.

I hope not.

The Minnesota Vikings have had good, spirited attendance at OTA’s so far this year by all accounts.  A few veterans have stayed away, including Percy Harvin after his shoulder presumably started to act up after attending the very beginning of OTA’s.  Jared Allen has also been away, which is not really a surprise given that is pretty much the norm for number 69.

One player that has been somewhat of a mystery has been Chad Greenway whose absence has been attributed to the vague reason of “family situation” up until this point.

According to reports, however, Greenway is indeed dealing with an unenviable and difficult situation.  His father, whom we can all remember for his words after Greenway was drafted, has been battling leukemia and is currently getting hospice care.

“I talked with him a few days ago and I don’t know if we’ll have him back for mandatory minicamp,” Leslie Frazier said. “His family situation is something he’s dealing with so we may or may not have him back for that but it’s understandable, what he’s experiencing.”

According to the reports, a number of South Dakota farmers have banded together to help Alan Greenway out by bailing his hay this season.

We here at VT would like to pass along our best wishes to Alan, Chad, and the whole Greenway family. This is surely the most trying of times for the Greenway family, and I know many of you would be eager to help out, but I have been unable to find any sort of fund being organized for Mr. Greenway.  If I find one I will be sure to pass that along.

In the meantime, Pennies for Patients has always been a standup organization to support in the battle against leukemia.

[UPDATE: It should be noted that the sixth annual Greenway’s Gridiron Gallup will be held this Sunday, Father’s Day, in Minneapolis.  The 5k run helps to raise funds for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board youth athletic programming.  For more details, you can click here.]

Stephen Burton was a late round flier that the Vikings took last year, and he didn’t get a whole lot of chances to prove himself in the post-lockout arena.

However, Burton may be benefiting from a full offseason and could be an interesting guy to keep an eye on as the preseason progresses.  According to Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com, Burton is making an impression during OTA’s and Leslie Frazier has noticed his progress.

“You can see the confidence and that’s a big thing for a receiver, big thing for any young player,” Frazier said. “He has tremendous athletic ability and he is one of those guys who can jump out of the gym and make the acrobatic catch, but his confidence, that’s the one thing that you can see is coming through now.”

Burton is 6’ 1” and weighs 224 pounds, so he has the size and athleticism to be a solid option at wide out, but Wobschall also indicates that Burton will get a chance to prove himself as a return man.

We don’t have the same video evidence as we do with Jerome Simpson (click here), but I can’t help but get a little giddy every time I hear about a young guy progressing… because that is what this offseason is all about.

I had Burton sticking to the 53 man roster in my early projections.

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