Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
We had a chance to go back and look at the tape from the game. There were some things that we can obviously work to improve on. The good thing about where we are now, we still have time to work before our first regular season game. We are going to try to utilize any time we have to really try to improve in some of those areas where we know we are a little bit deficient and continue to work and improve as a football team. The things that we’ve done well, we are going to try to accentuate those and see why we’ve done them well and try to continue to improve on that as we go but we do have some time before that first game so we think there’s enough time to try to get some things in place that should help us when we line up for the first game. Yesterday was a tough day. Anytime you have to release players, we got down to 75 and there were some tough decisions along the way. We have some other tough decisions to make once this ball game is over on Thursday night. There’s still some battles going on and for that reason, a lot of guys are going to play. We’re going to hold out some of our starters and there may be some depending on how these practices go on this short week, we’ll determine whether or not we play any starters. We like the competition. It’s a good problem to have as we come to the final 53 but we still have some hotly contested battles for positions that may be to start for us but for sure our depth as we are looking to improve our depth on our football team and get quality. We have a lot of work to do. This is an important week for us and all our guys realize that and we are going to try to utilize it to try to improve our team.
Q: How much was
A: He moved around pretty good. It’s good to see him back out there with his teammates and I’m encouraged by the fact that he’s back out there. We think if he can just keep making progress throughout this week, he should be fine to be ready for game week. It was good to have him back.
Q: Will he play Thursday?
A: No, I don’t think we’ll put him out there. We’ll let him practice and get his legs under him and we’ll get him a little more familiar with the offense from a rep standpoint as well.
Q: With all the injuries, are you taking a good look at what’s out there for defensive backs?
A: Yeah. I know Rick [Spielman] and the scouts are always looking at the wire to see who could potentially be there to help us so that will be ongoing for sure.
Q: Any idea how you’re going to get through the final game with all the injuries at safety?
A: We’ve been talking about that. We’re going to mix and match and do whatever we have to do to get through that game and hopefully we’ll get through it without any other injuries. Fortunately, the injuries don’t seem to be ones that should hinder the guys that are injured from playing in that first game. We need to get through this one in the same fashion but we’ll figure something out to get through it.
A: There were a number of things that we saw offensively that we want to work on, whether it’s work with our offensive line, our wide receivers, our running backs and the quarterback position as well. There’s a lot that we need to do. We made strides along the way and we’re much improved across the board on offense but obviously there are some things we have to get better at. Not only that, but our defense as well could get better. We have to continue to get better at every position.
Q: Why was there a lack of rhythm offensively against the Chargers?
A: You have to credit San Diego. As I mentioned the other night, that’s a much improved defense. They did some things and we have to do some things better before we get to Jacksonville but for us to be challenged the way we were, I think that will help us for our season opener.
A: I don’t know if they’re still trying to figure it out, it’s just we have to do a better job on some of the things we’re doing from a blocking standpoint. I think we will and it was good that some of those things came up in the ball game. It will force us to be more diligent about what we’re doing and get us in a better frame of mind when we get ready for our first regular season game.
Q: How do you size up the guys battling for the third running back spot?
A: Nobody distinguished themselves the other night. It’s still open. It’s open competition and you got to keep your eyes on the guys you have on your roster but also see what happens around the League. We’ll see what happens on Thursday night. Hopefully somebody will take the bull by the horns and really separate themselves and say, ‘This is my position. This is my job on this football team.’ We’ll see.
A: That’s the plan. He’s further along now. He’s as close to 100 percent as he’s been in awhile so we want to get him some reps and give him a proper evaluation. We’ll see how he continues as the week goes on.
Q: How has
A: He’s done some things that make you pay attention to him. He’s had some nice runs, he has good vision when he’s running with the football, he can play a little bit of full back and he’s shown some versatility catching the ball out of the backfield so he’s done some things to make you want to pay attention. We’ll give him some reps in the ball game and continue to keep him in the mix as we try to make the determination if he’s worthy of that third running back spot.
Q: What are the injuries to
A: Chris has lower back spasms, D’Imperio has a shoulder that’s caused him a little bit of trouble so we’ll have to evaluate him. You guys know about Mistral [Raymond] with the lower back spasm, Josh [Robinson] has a concussion so we’ll definitely be holding him out, [Geoff] Schwartz is doing better with the sports hernia and [Andrew] Sendejo and [Marcus] Sherels both have ankle sprains, all things that should make those guys available in a couple weeks but maybe some of them won’t be playing in this ball game on Thursday.
Q: How did
A: That was one of the things we were hoping to see, where he was comfortable catching the football and he had his moments in practice where we were bringing him along and hoping he could continue to improve and he has and it showed in the game. He seemed very comfortable catching the ball. He had a nice return before the half that set us up for a field goal and he showed some confidence when he was back there catching the ball and had some running ability as well. We’ll keep feeding him, giving him opportunities. We’re going to do it this Thursday night and see how he develops but he showed something. He showed he is worthy of continuing to give him opportunities.
Q: With all of the time that
A: That’s definitely something we’re going to talk about and we have talked about with Geoff because of all the time that he’s missed as you mentioned but we’ll see. We’re going to see how he progresses this week. The fact that he was moving around today and moving around as well as he was gives us some hope that next week he’ll be able to practice. We’ll just see how he progresses.
Q: You’ve talked about
A: Very important. It’s a good point because we were concerned going into the preseason about his health and what has happened over the last year. To see him incrementally get better as time has gone on and then to play as well as he did in the third preseason game, that’s very encouraging for our entire staff and our defense. It’s good for his teammates to see him make the plays that he made in that game. It was very encouraging. We feel much better about where he is now than we did prior to that game.
Q: There was a play where he split the guard and the center. It’s his style to be downhill isn’t it?
A: No question. That was one of the reasons we drafted him the year that we did and one of his strengths is being a downhill, in-your-face type guy but to see him show the lateral quickness that he did and change direction like he did, we hadn’t seen that as instinctively early on. The fact that he was reacting and responding the way he did, it was good to see. You feel much better about him today.
Q: Because of how thin you are at safety and because
A: You’ve been in our staff meetings. That is the plan. We are going to play him quite a bit and that’s one of the reasons we held him out that last game. We wanted to give him an extended look in this final preseason game. We do plan on starting him and playing him for quite awhile so we can properly evaluate him as well. He’s missed a lot of time.
Q: Do you know who is going to be starting next to Robert Blanton?
A: We’re talking through that. As you mentioned, we’re kind of thin right there so we’ll make that decision as we go along.
A: It’s possible. We’ll see what happens with the guys that end up playing but he did some good things when he did start but still have to talk that through, whether or not he’s going to be the starter when we line up against Jacksonville.
Q: Are the back spasms related to his dehydration issues in the past in any way?
A: I was never told it had anything to do with the dehydration. I can’t relate it to the dehydration.
A: Probably not, coming off a concussion and a short week but it’s good to see him out here practicing now and we want him to practice throughout the week and get back in the football mode a little bit but we probably wouldn’t put him out there Thursday night.
Q: How are you planning on splitting up the quarterback reps Thursday night?
A: We’re going to end up starting Joe (Webb) and then we’re going to determine who is going to be the second and third guy, how much they’re going to play, we’re going to talk about that a little bit more. We’re going to start Joe early on but we definitely want to look at Sage (Rosenfels) some more, we want to look at (McLeod) Bethel-Thompson more and that’s been the plan, to get Sage and Bethel more time in this final preseason game. We plan on doing that.
Q: Will you sit your whole starting offensive line then too?
A: There may be one or two guys we may put out there but we’re going to talk about that and see if we want to do that or not.
A: He’s done a good job. That kick that he had at the end of the game when we needed a deep kick and he created the touchback for us, that was big. That was a clutch kick for us. He’s done a lot of good things, really pleased with progress he’s made and we have to keep giving him turns, putting him out there, let him continue to have success so he can gain his confidence for when the regular season rolls around. He’s done a lot of good things. We’re pleased with where he is.
A: I don’t think we’ll put him out there. When he had the little incident a week ago, just felt like we need to give him a little bit more time and keep bringing him along and hopefully next week when we start preparing for Jacksonville, he’s able to go through everything that he has to go through to prepare for the game.
Q: Did you talk to (Texans Head Coach) Gary Kubiak about getting some updates on that Rice game Thursday night?
A: His son plays for Rice too. We’ll both be trying to get information along the way. That’s weird that they’re playing at the same time we’re playing right across 10, 15 minutes from where we are so we’ll both have our minds split a little bit, I guarantee.
Q: Have you guys gotten to know each other a little better because your sons are playing together?
A: Without a doubt. I go down for some of their spring games when I can and there’s Gary and his wife and me and my wife and we’ll sit by each other and talk. When we go to some of the offseason things that we’re at as coaches, we’re talking about Rice and our sons. His son and my son have gotten to be friends so yeah, we’ve definitely have grown closer through that relationship.
Q: Does that help you get your mind off of this for a bit or is it more stressful not knowing what you’re son is doing on the field?
A: When I’m doing what we’re doing, I’m so invested in that, I don’t think about Rice a whole lot at that time but it is more with the downtime, whenever that is. Pulling for him, hoping they have success in that first game. George Paton, our assistant general manager now, is a UCLA alum so we’ve been having a little bit of communication between the two of us, Rice versus UCLA. We’ll see who comes out on top.