Frazier on Freeman: "We Think He'll Be Able To Help Us"

Posted Oct 7, 2013

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier

We had a good first day back. It was our first time getting together since our trip over to London and our guys practiced hard on a beautiful day here at Winter Park. Guys are really excited about kicking off things after this bye. We have a lot of work to do. We realize that as a team. We are excited about the opportunity we had this week to prepare for our first opponent coming out of our bye. Injury-wise I think we are in much better shape than we were going into the bye. The fact that we have Rhett Ellison back out practicing now, Jamarca Sanford is back, Chris Cook is back practicing. Chris was able to get some work in today. We’ll see how he is on Wednesday. We’ll see what kind of soreness he might have after today’s practice. It was good to have him back out doing some work. I’m sure by now everyone has read about the pending signing of Josh Freeman. We expect him here this afternoon. He has to pass his physical and we’ll get rolling from there. I know Rick Spielman, our General Manager, is going to sit down and talk with some of you at some point later this afternoon, along with Josh and they’ll be able to talk a little bit more in detail about the acquisition and how it all came about. We’re excited that he’s going to be joining our football team. We think he’ll be able to help us. To what degree, Only time will tell, but we’re looking forward to having him join our team and hopefully help us to get some momentum and continue the momentum that we started with that win against Pittsburgh. We’re looking forward to having him in when he gets in later this afternoon.

Q: What’s your plan for this week and who’s your starter?

A: We’re going to see how Christian (Ponder) does on Wednesday, but between he and Matt (Cassel), they’ll be the guys that will start the game. We’re not going to try to get Josh up and going for this ball game. We’ll see where he is and we’ll have an update later on.

Q: Do you anticipate Ponder’s ribs will be good enough for him to play?

A: That’s hard to say right now. We’re going to see where he is tomorrow and Wednesday as well, but we’re going to talk about it and come to a resolution pretty soon.

Q: What’s the primary reason you signed Josh Freeman?

A: We’re hoping that he’s another good football player that our personnel guys, along with myself, felt like could help our team. That was the primary reason. We’re always trying to find guys who you think can help your team win and we think he’s one of those guys.

Q: Are you afraid it’s going to mix up the chemistry a little bit?

A: No, our guys want us to do whatever it takes to win, whatever it takes to help us improve and they understand the business we’re in and we’re trying to do something to help us win, so it should help our chemistry.

Q: Can you go forward with those three quarterbacks – Ponder, Cassel and Freeman – or do you have to make a move?

A: No, you don’t. We’ve had three guys on our roster throughout these first four weeks of the season so it wouldn’t be unusual to do that, so we don’t have to make a move.

Q: What does it mean for Christian’s career here?

A: I think Christian still has a bright future here with our football team. It may not look like that on the surface, but Christian is a professional, he’s going to work as hard as he can every day to prepare and get back out on the field and help our team win. He’s a pro.

Q: Did either Ponder or Cassel have questions for you about the signing of Freeman and what that means for them?

A: I sat down with both of them this morning and talked to them about the signing and what the implications were. I think we’re all on the same page and how it affects them and how it can affect our team.

Q: What kind of concerns did they express to you?

A: No real concerns, they just wanted to know from me what the move entailed and how it would affect them.

Q: When you spoke to Josh, how did that conversation go?

A: He was very interested. He has friends on our team evidently and he talked to a bunch of our guys prior to me even talking with him so he knew it was pretty good. I was surprised. He knew a lot about us and how we do things and he kind of wanted to be in this environment. He wanted a fresh start and he was excited that I’d talk with him and a lot of it had to with the guys he had already talked with on our team. They had kind of set the table, which those guys in the league, they talk all the time. 

Q: Did you have to do a sales job? Or was he already decided?

A:I got the sense, and he’ll be able to answer this better when you talk with him this afternoon, but there wasn’t much of a sales job that needed to be done.

Q: With his exit in Tampa Bay, how much did you have to dig into his background? 

A: We did some digging. That was important. You hear so many things, you have to find out what’s true and what’s not. Between Rick and our personnel department, along with some calls that I made as well, we felt comfortable and we’ll see how it works out.

Q: When Josh is up to speed how do you approach that situation?

A: Just have to see how long it takes him to understand our offense and what’s required to run our offense and then go from there.

Q: What’s the message to the team that you want to send with three quarterbacks in the mix and a season that’s still in play?

A: For our team, and I talked with them about this this morning, the focus for us is this Carolina game and whatever we’ve got to do to get a win and Josh is not going to be the starting quarterback this weekend. Our guys know the preparation that’s required of them and they really have to focus on their roles and their responsibilities. But they understand our goal is to win games. It shouldn’t have any affect other than they know we are trying to win.

Q: Does Josh come in with a chance to start at a later time? 

A: That’s part of the equation. When we talked with him that’s definitely on the table. So we’ll see how he progresses and how well he picks up our offense.

Q: Does Matt definitely start this weekend? 

A: We’re going to see how Christian does and then we’ll make a decision.

Q: What is Ponder’s condition right now?

A: He’s still recovering from the rib fracture. I’ll know a little bit more tomorrow along with Wednesday when we get back where he is.

Q: He was throwing balls earlier right?

A: He threw the ball some. We had him throwing even at the end of last week just to see how he’d feel and how he’d feel moving around. Today we did a little bit more moving around and we’ll do more moving when we come back Wednesday.

Q: Is he still your number one quarterback?

A: He’s still our starter if he’s healthy.

Q: How did Christian take this? Does it hurt his confidence?

A: We talked about that and you’re right, on the surface you’d question that. He’s human and I’m sure he has at times. He just has to continue to work and work as hard as he can and I think things will work out fine for Christian in the long term.

Q: Did it bother you that he had problems getting along with his coach in Tampa Bay?

A: I think it was Chip (Scoggins) who asked me about digging and learning as much as we could about that situation. Once I did a little digging and had a chance to talk with him, I think we’ll be able to coexist, I think we’ll be alright.