Tuesday, May 3, 2016

leslie frazier

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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.

If you are here, then you are probably a Vikings fan.  Jerome Felton has apologized to fans for his DWI from last weekend.

Ergo, if you are reading this, then Jerome Felton has apologized to you.

Here is the full comment made by Felton on his McDonald’s DWI situation:

“Everybody on this team and in this organization has been good to me and the fans have been great.  I love it here. I can’t put myself in negative situations that don’t have a positive impact on the team and the community. That’s something that’s very important to me and I just want to sincerely apologize to the fans, No. 1, the organization and everybody around the Vikings.”

Pro football fans do not always get apologies from their players following screw ups, mainly because an apology is an admission of guilt.  Strangely, both Felton and Justin Blackmon of the Jaguars decided to proactively apologize to their teams and their fans for driving while intoxicated.

Felton is believed to have the inside track on the starting fullback position in Minnesota, but he may have a lot of work to do to gain back the trust of the coaching staff.

“We talked about some things when we got together for our first OTAs in our meetings about how we wanted to conduct ourselves,” Leslie Frazier said. “Then when a new guy comes to the club and he’s a veteran guy and something happened like it did over the weekend, it’s very disappointing. It’s something we’ll have to deal with and have to address, but you don’t want that to drown out all of the good things that some of our players are doing and what they’re doing in the community.”

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