Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
It looks like we’re going to have a beautiful day for practice this afternoon. It feels good up here. One of the reasons that we enjoy coming back to Minnesota State every year is because it’s so conducive to having training camp and I think so far we’ve done a good job of utilizing the time we have had here. Today is a big day for us. We’ll hit some different situations, two-minute being one of them, an area where we have to execute extremely well both on offense and defense. It will be a good test for our team, so far so good.
Q: Where was
A: We sent him back to the Twin Cities to get a check on an abdominal strain that he had and also just to make sure there isn’t something else going on physically. We’ll see when we get the results back where things are. We wanted to run some tests, I’ll know something a little bit more this afternoon.
Q: Could the abdominal strain be related to his hip surgery?
A: That’s what we want to check out, if it’s related to the hip and if there’s something else going on.
Q: What triggered that abdominal pain?
A: He said he had trouble turning, I think it was to his left, or to his right, just couldn’t make any adjustments he needed to make when he turned in that direction. Obviously for an offensive lineman, we want him to be able to turn in either direction with ease. He’s having trouble doing that so we wanted him to go back and get it checked out to see what’s going on.
Q: What window of opportunity for
A: Allen has really improved. He is much more physical than he was a season ago. He came in as more of a guy who was purely a pass catching tight end it seemed. He was working a little bit on special teams a year ago and he struggled a little bit, but this training camp and even OTAs he is like a different player. Our coaches were commenting on that just a couple nights ago. He is much more physical, really has a better understanding of what we’re trying to do. He has become tougher at the point of attack when he’s blocking those defensive ends, just a different attitude than the player we had at the end of last season. He is going to make the competition deposition pretty interesting.
Q: Talk about
A: He understands what we try to do in training camp with him, as a defensive end they run all the time. Where he is in his career, we don’t want to take all the tread off those tires. We have to be smart in how we manage his practice time. We need him playing at his best when we line-up against Jacksonville, so he understands what we’re trying to get done. It’s worked in the past and we want him to stay healthy throughout training camp as well.
Q: Does he put up fights?
A: He knows at his position why we need to do it the way we’re doing it, he understands.
Q: Did you get further information on Pat Brown?
A: Nothing different, just grade one (MCL sprain), so not in the same category as what we saw with John (Carlson). We think he will be back in a couple of days, so not nearly at the degree as John’s was.
Q: Will you be looking at other guys with the offensive line getting so thin?
A: We are going to be bringing in some guys to work out and take a look at. You don’t want to get down to 11 or 10 (guys on the offensive line). We do have to bring some guys in so Rick (Spielman) and his staff are looking at some guys right now to bring in and work out.
Q: When you look back at last year’s training camp, what is the biggest difference that you see from then to now?
A: Last season was unlike any other offseason in the history of the NFL, so not a lot to compare other than the fact that those were blurs. This offseason we are more accustomed to those that I’m familiar with in the National Football League and that’s creating an environment that we can get much more done in training camp and plan things a lot better than we could a year ago, which was cloudy. A lot of ways there’s nothing to compare last offseason to. This is more conducive to what I know and for us to reach our goals as a football team.
Q: Talk about
A: He has begun to really step up for us, and come out with a lot of confidence. Of course you know he and Christian (Ponder) have a great rapport, he is going to be a favorite for Christian, there’s no question about it. He has shown some second-year leadership that we need because we are so young at so many positions, but he is embracing the fact that he is our starting tight end and we are counting on him in a big way to be productive for us. He has the talent to do it; he was a star in college, he isn’t afraid to be in the lime light. We are hoping for big things from him in his second season.
Q: With OTAs, minicamps, preseason games, training camp, etc; are any one of those things more important than the other in regards to the bubble guys?
A: I think there’s a combination of all of those. What they did back in spring, what happens in training camp, what happens in preseason games, it’s just a combination of what happens in practice. When you’re trying to make an evaluation of every player which, as I said before, it puts a premium on our people being able to put them in position, especially guys where you’re not certain if they are going to make it or not, and putting them into situations to see if they’re capable or not. We don’t let a guy go that really could have helped our team in 2012. These preseason games along with these practices are so important and so was the offseason, to be able to see a guy pay attention to where he’s supposed to be. A lot goes into this process when you’re trying to narrow down to this 53-man roster.
Q: How are you evaluating the No. 3 running back spot?
A: That’s a big one. We were taking about that last night, as well. We are all hoping Adrian (Peterson) gets back and is the player we all remember but also have to go through the scenario, what if it takes more time than he thinks. So that next guy, as opposed to being your third back, is your second back. Do we have the right people to be the second back? We’re going to learn a little bit more as we go through the preseason about those other running backs and what their roles are going to be, but it does change things if all of the sudden those people we brought in to be the third back have to be our second tailback. That’s something we have to play close attention to as we find out more about Adrian.
A: Both are doing very well. They’ve been studying, they’re assignment sound, and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. We continue to put them in situations in practice and we’ll learn a little bit more next week when we line up against San Francisco, but so far they’re doing everything we’ve asked them to do.
Q: Is Todman’s ankle sprain serious?
A: No, it’s just a typical sprain and he shouldn’t be out very many days, so nothing major at all.
Q: Is special teams the tie breaker for the number three running back position?
A: Yes, and usually it does when you’re talking about the third guy, not so much the second guy because he could be splitting carries with the first guy but Lex (Hilliard) has played in this League and been successful and one of his fortes is being a good special teams player. He’s a proven commodity in that area. That’s one of the reasons we signed him, because he not only gives you something in the backfield, but he’s been a very good special teams player where as Jordan (Todman) has been a guy who has been on a practice squad and he’s still learning the NFL. There’s a difference there, but he has some juice and that was one of the attractions when we signed him. They are different in their careers and where they are.
Q: Regarding the two-minute work, are you going to be looking at the defense more after not being able to hold leads last year?
A: No, we need to be good on offense and defense in two-minute situations. There were times on offense where we couldn’t take the football down the field and score in the final two minutes to win a game. There were times on defense we couldn’t stop someone to end the game. We want to improve our two-minute offense and defense and that’s the same way across the board. We want to see improvement in a lot of areas but today specifically, two-minute. We want to see improvement with our offense and defense. This is the first time we’ve done it in training camp so we know there is going to be some give and take but we need to go through this exercise and we’ll do it again before we play our first scrimmage game next Friday, given that opportunity. There will be a number of opportunities to hit two-minute situations before we get to Jacksonville but the goal is to see our offense be productive in that area, see our defense be productive in two-minute situations.
Q: Is there going to be any live sessions in tomorrow night’s practice?
A: It will be more thud. Yesterday I told our guys that the scrimmage we had in short yardage and goal line was our last live situation we’ll have before we scrimmage next Friday. We’ll still be live on the line but we just won’t take the backs down tomorrow night.