Thursday, February 11, 2016

leslie frazier

Before the 2012 season got underway, Percy Harvin expressed great displeasure with his role within the Vikings offense and requested a trade at one point.  Instead of trading him, Leslie Frazier talked with Harvin about his concerns and apparently Harvin was happy with what he heard.  If wasn’t completely happy at that point, he has to be now because he is in the middle of an MVP-type season.

After a pitiful loss to the Indianapolis Colts, veteran defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Jared Allen appealed to the coaching staff to let them simplify the defense and simply allow the front four to do their thing.  The result has been games like we saw this last weekend, where the defense amassed seven sacks despite the fact that they blitzed on exactly zero snaps.

This coaching staff is seemingly willing to listen to their productive players, but they also seem willing to listen to their fan base.  When the Vikings had red zone struggles in the red zone against Washington, the coaching staff didn’t get defensive and chippy about the matter like we might expect from the rex Ryans and Pete Carrolls of the world.

Instead, the Vikings coaching staff admitted that they weren’t proud of their decisions and vowed to fix the problem.  And, really, they succeeded.  The Vikings made two trips to the red zone on Sunday, and they scored touchdowns on each of them.

The coaching staff had to know they were going to hear about their lack of passing production on Sunday.  At one point, Christian Ponder was sarcastically cheered by the home crowd when he opted to throw away a football when he was under pressure, as earlier he had chucked picks under similar pressure.  If that wasn’t enough, the home crowd was so disinterested in the yawn-inducing game that they collectively jeered the referees for a call against the Cardinals because they weren’t paying close enough attention to realize the call had actually gone in the Vikings favor.

Everybody involved with Christian Ponder’s dismal day (35.5 passer rating) seemed to acknowledge that improvement was needed if their winning ways are to continue.

“A lot of it had to do with what they were doing defensively,” Frazier said of his offense’s struggles against the Cardinals. “Some of the things they were able to take away from what we wanted to get accomplished in the passing game.”

Frazier went on to vow that Ponder will continue to improve as an NFL passer.

So far this season, when the Vikings coaching staff says something is going to improve, it has come to fruition pretty quickly.  We may have our reasons to doubt Ponder’s abilities in the immediate future, but his first chance to prove us wrong will come very quickly.

In three short days, the Vikings will take on Tampa Bay… who have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL.

Percy Harvin is enjoying one of his most productive and drama-free seasons of his career thus far, but it was not without a rocky start.

As many of you will remember, Harvin caused a firestorm of reports and speculation when he openly expressed his displeasure with the Vikings organization this offseason and followed up by requesting a trade.  Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier seemed to quickly placate the star utility receiver, but we never heard for certain what Harvin’s issues were exactly.

Harvin has now opened up, following a game that was essentially won because of his opening kickoff return for a touchdown, and says that his problem stemmed from players not knowing where they fit into Minnesota’s offense.

“I think it was just the identity of our offense,” Harvin said via 1500 ESPN. “Not only me, just guys knowing exactly what the coaches (were) asking of them on a week-to-week basis. Not playing one position one week, and come in and not totally having a grasp on what they’re asking for the next week.

“I think (offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave has done a great job — I said it all offseason — of putting (Kyle) Rudolph in great situations. We’ve got a package for Jerome (Simpson), which you’ve seen, where we’ll take shots downfield. So everybody knows their role, knows what the coaches expect them to do. Now you can just sit back and try to do it at the highest level you can.”

Harvin is on pace for a 120 catch and 1,200 yard season, not including his contributions on special teams and rushing the ball, which means his pending contract extension is likely to get more and more expensive with every week he stays healthy and production.

Sitting at 3-1 and on top of the NFC North, that is a good problem for the Vikings to have on the horizon.

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Much has been made of the Vikings efforts to protect their franchise running back, Adrian Peterson, by keeping him away from contact for as long as possible.

It appears, however, that seafood may have been a bigger threat to Peterson than taking a couple of shots from Jasper Brinkley.

Peterson suffered an allergic reaction to seafood and experienced a shortness of breath and swelling of the face, which gave team officials a scare on Monday.  Peterson was handled by the team’s medical staff and then taken to a hospital.  Peterson was able to return within a couple of hours, according to reports, and is expected to be at practice on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if any one of you has had anyone experience that, but, yeah, it was scary,” Leslie Frazier said. “But he’s fine now. Everything’s fine.”

“We’re anticipating him being back in rehab tomorrow, whether he’s doing things in the pool or back out on the field. He’s cleared to get going tomorrow,” noted Frazier.

After reportedly getting black eyes at the hands of the Houston P.D. earlier this offseason, and now experiencing these allergies, I find myself wondering for the first time ever if Peterson has an insurance policy on his face.

Adrian Peterson got into some trouble for allegedly fighting with members of the Houston Police Department, but that isn’t going to deter him from fighting with team officials that may try to put him on the PUP list, sidelining him during training camp.

“I’m going to lobby to get out there. I feel like I can participate a little bit,” Peterson said in Mankato on Thursday.  “”It’s going to be their call. My main focus is just getting out there and trying to get myself ready. To be honest with you, I’m going to try to fight against (PUP) so I can get out there and be involved. Ultimately, I know these guys are going to do what’s best for this team.”

Head Coach Leslie Frazier indicated that he would talk to Peterson late on Thursday and discuss how the rehab is going.  Frazier reiterated that the team plans to include doctors and trainers in the process of deciding what the immediate plan should be for Peterson.

Peterson again insisted that he did nothing wrong during his altercation in Houston, and expressed confidence that the truth will come out in his favor.

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Leslie Frazier’s first year as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings was arguably the worst season for any head coach in the history of the franchise.

This year, with the lockout in the rear view mirror, provides some hope, however, that Frazier and the Vikings will be able to utilize a full offseason to fully implement their plan to improve.  That plan, as Frazier alludes to, centers on getting all of the roster additions up to speed.

“We have a lot of work to do, as well all know,” Frazier said. “We have a lot of new faces that are going to be on our football team that are going to be starting for us and playing for us, so as a staff one of the things we’ve talked about and leading up to training camp some of the things we’ve talked about were developing the young players on our football team and trying to get those guys to be ready for that Jacksonville game and to help us throughout the season.”

“And then just working to improve throughout training camp,” Frazier continued.  “That’s the goal, to try to improve every single day in some phase. If we can do that, we’re hoping everything can come together and we can get off to a good start and have a good football season. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re excited to be down here to kickoff the 2012 season.”

On Thursday, the Vikings took care of some administrative stuff and player physicals, and Friday morning will feature a walk through with the first practice coming in the afternoon.

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