Thursday, February 11, 2016

leslie frazier

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The final minicamp practice on Thursday signaled the beginning of the darkest period of the NFL offseason, with more than a month’s time between now and the start of training camp, and Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier wants his players to stay on the right track.

It has been almost a full year since I was visiting reader Fran the Man at his Alaskan lodge and we simultaneously dropped our jaws in disbelief upon hearing the news of Adrian Peterson’s arrest in a Houston club.  The good news is those charges seemed bogus and were eventually dropped, and the better news is that it is the last time a Vikings player is known to have been in trouble.

“Just reminded them about the things they’ve got to get done in this time away,” Frazier said of his send off speech, “and remember that they represent us in their hometowns or wherever they travel at, that we all represent one another, and take care of their bodies.”

Frazier and G.M. Rick Spielman seem to be putting together a squad of high character guys that are focused on becoming champions.  Time and again we have heard Frazier preach to his players that none of them want to be “that guy.”

Provided the circus-like atmosphere surrounding New England right now, thanks to their star tight end getting himself embroiled in a murder case, it is refreshing to have an offseason where the biggest controversy involves an activist punter.

Stay out of trouble, Vikings.  We are all looking forward to seeing you play on Sundays this year.

Jared Allen’s contract situation isn’t keeping him awake at night, and neither are any lingering injuries, and he says he is now getting the best sleep he’s had in years.  This is important because Allen is the only Viking that has yet to make an appearance at the OTA practices that took place this week.

“I’m excited to be playing ball and especially I’m excited to be healthy this year. That’s the biggest thing,” he told SiriusXM via Scout.com. “My contract has been so far out of mind because I’m finally able to train this year. My shoulder is back. I didn’t know how rehab was going to be, this being the first surgery I’ve ever had. I’m just excited that my strength is coming back; I’m sleeping again at night. Two years of not sleeping very well, it wears on you.”

Allen spent the week celebrating his anniversary and Leslie Frazier says, according to the Pioneer Press, that Allen will join his teammates after this weekend.

Earlier this offseason, Allen said he would be “out the door” if the Vikings approached him about a pay cut, and so it appears he is perfectly content entering the final year of his contract without any guarantees that extend into 2014 or beyond.

“I’m not hostile. I love the Minnesota Vikings. They got me out of a situation in Kansas City where I was very unhappy and put a lot of faith in me,” Allen said. “The whole point is I don’t worry about my contract, and I don’t. I’ve always been a person that says my play will take care of everything else. ”

“As long as I perform on the football field, you have options in front of you,” he continued. “As far as where I’ll end up, I don’t know. I’m playing this year for this year. I loved being a Viking. I love being a Viking. I want to win a Super Bowl as a Viking.”

Injuries have been cited as a contributor to Allen’s “down year” in 2012, but he still registered 12 sacks and played well enough to not yet be a candidate to be put out to the pasture that Rick Spielman has been sending plenty of veterans to lately.  Considering the young defensive end talent on this team, Allen’s potential contract demands, and the huge dip in value placed on veteran pass rushers this offseason, it is reasonable to wonder if this season will be his last as a Viking.

For now, however, a healthy Jared Allen has plenty of financial motivation to couple with his desire to win a Super Bowl and that is a pretty good formula for short-term success.

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After Adrian Peterson overcame his gruesome knee injury last offseason to lead the league in rushing, I suspect many people have actually forgotten he had surgery this offseason, and have no concerns about his ability to recover.

Still, after carrying the ball 20-plus times in his last five games after suffering a sports hernia, we shouldn’t neglect how important he an his health are to this team.  According to Leslie Frazier, however, Peterson is coming along nicely following his hernia surgery.

“It’s kind of happened not by his choice. As you know, he had the abdominal strain late in the season and that’s kind of slowed him this offseason as far as being able to kick it into overdrive and being able to do things the way he wants to do it,” Frazier told NFL Network this week. “So that’s kind of slowed him down a little bit, but he’s just about back to 100 percent, doing everything that he needs to be able to do to be in the best shape he can possibly be for this season.”

Frazier didn’t sound at all worried about Peterson’s ability to be fully ready when the regular season rolls around, but he did indicate the team wants to be more balanced regardless of Peterson’s medical status, and expects his team to be better in the passing game than they have been in the recent past.

You know the drill, here is the best of the best:

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Back in my pre-children Madden playing days, I used to think it was unfair that my truck stick allowed me to run for 2,000 yards a season with Adrian Peterson, but if I still gamed that guilt would’ve gone away after the season he had last year.

Adrian Peterson is famous for giving defenders “the business” during a run, lowering his head and trucking whomever is in his way, as he was raised to believe that if he were hitting them harder than they were hitting him, then he would not only be a better running back but he would remain a healthier one.

The NFL approved a new rule today that will create a spot penalty (that is, penalized from the spot of the infraction, not the line of scrimmage) of 15 yards if a call carrier uses the “crown” of their helmet when engaging a defender.

The Vikings, for obvious reasons surrounding their $100 million running back, opposed the rule vocally at first.  However, citing an overwhelming amount of evidence at the owners meetings, they ended up being one of the 31 teams to vote in favor of the rule change.  Leslie Frazier said the vote was cast with player safety in mind.

Many other news outlets will dissect the new rule, and I am content leaving that to them, and how it might impact the game.

All I wanted to say is this:  Thanks for giving Adrian Peterson yet another obstacle to truck.

That is all.

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