Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
We had a good extra practice today. Guys are anxious to get started on the second half of the season, this being the third quarter of our season. It just seems like from the meeting today, guys are anxious to get moving on this Seattle game plan, which we’ll enter on Wednesday when we come back. Injury-wise, the only guy who didn’t participate who we’re hoping to eventually get back is
Q: Where was
A: Michael had a personal situation that had to be taken care of. He’ll be back for Wednesday’s practice.
Q: What was your goal with this extra practice?
A: As a staff, we went back and looked at some things we were trying to do, on Friday and Saturday, that we felt like we needed to improve on. So we wanted to go through some fundamentals today, hit some techniques that we think we need to improve on and if we can improve on some of those things we think we’ll be a better team in this second half. We just kind of went back to some of the fundamentals of what we do in certain areas and try to get that done today with a good Vikings verses Vikings practice. Just hitting some of the basics of what we’ve been doing.
Q: Was it helpful to have a couple extra days after a game like you had on Thursday?
A: I would think so. Just to be able to clear your mind and get started on the second half of the season. This break comes at a good time for us. You really feel like it’s a clean slate and you’re starting it new. I think that’s a good thing from a mental standpoint.
A: He did. He had his surgery and it was successful. Nothing different than what we talked about a few days ago, probably six to eight weeks until we get him back and the good news is we do have a chance of getting him back.
Q: Are you going to make a move to fill that spot sometime before Sunday?
A: We probably will, probably will.
Q: Do you know what direction you’re going to go?
A: Not yet.
Q: Four days removed since that loss, do you see anything differently when you get some distance from it to gauge what went wrong?
A: We’ve moved on. We’ve moved on to Seattle. That is the most important thing right now and that’s what I told our team. That’s where our focus and energy has to be. They can’t look back, we have to look forward and forward for us means Seattle.
Q: Going into the third quarter, did you address how the schedule gets a little tougher?
A: I didn’t. I really concentrated on our preparation when we get back on Wednesday for Seattle. I talked about the fact that we are entering the third quarter of the season, how important it is in November to set up December, but I didn’t get into games other than the game that we have coming up.
Q: After the losses, people have talked a lot about how the guys have responded. How have you seen them respond here?
A: Based on today, I would say they came back in a good frame of mind and we’ll learn more as the week goes on. Wednesday will probably be a good tell tale, but it seemed like today, having this weekend to kind of get away from things probably helped.
A: We’re going to talk about it before the game and we’ll make a decision as the week goes on, what’s the best thing to do.
A: He’s done a good job for us. We’ve been pleased with A.J.’s performance on special teams as well as what he’s done in the snaps that he’s gotten on defense. He’s done a good job.
Q: How much do you think Chris Cook’s loss is going to hurt you when facing big receivers?
A: Chris was really coming along, he was playing good football for us, but in this business we all know injuries occur and I think our depth is better than it has been in years past. I think we’ll be able to hold up better than we have in the past. It just gives other guys opportunities to step up and play more.
A: It looks that way. We need to get him through an entire week of practice, we’re going to give him a little bit more this week and then we’ll make a decision later in the week. All indications are he’s improved enough where he can go through everything in practice, but he still hasn’t done that.
Q: Would that be a situation where you probably look to get him back in slowly instead of starting him immediately if he’s ready to go Sunday?
A: Yeah he’s missed a bunch of time so we have to see him go through some things with his teammates before we put him out there for sure.
Q: What have you seen out of
A: I like the things Jarius is doing. Some of the things we did today in practice he got a lot of reps. He’s kept his head in it as far as what we’re doing on offense, he’s working hard on special teams, he’s still improving as a punt returner. I think he’s about where we need him to be. We feel like when the time comes for him to step in, he’ll be able to do a good job for us.
Q: What’s left for him show you to get that chance?
A: I think he has to continue to improve and keep working hard like he’s doing in practice. I don’t know if there’s anything more that he has to do, but he’s improving. He’s come a long ways.
Q: What do you hope to see from Mistral Raymond throughout the week to convince you he’s ready?
A: When we put him through the paces and what we’re doing with seven-on-seven, team, individual work, group, whatever we’re doing, just to see how he responds on Thursday after a Wednesday practice and then Friday after a Thursday practice because it will be much more intense for him than it has been as we integrate him into everything that we’re doing. So, just to see how he responds to everything that we put him through.
Q: What do you look at more, the mental aspect or physically how his ankle is holding up?
A: Both. We need to see how he responds to some of the things that we’re doing. We’ve got a few changes in what we’re doing from earlier in the season when he was starting, but he shouldn’t have a problem picking up some of those little nuances, but we also have to see how he’s doing physically, as well. How he plants, how he cuts and how he responds the day after one of those practices.
Q: What’s your level of concern with the run defense?
A: I’m concerned. We have to sure up our run game and the running back we’re facing on Sunday, in my mind, he’s one of the best in our business so we better get our run game fixed in a hurry.
Q: What’s been missing the last few weeks?
A: We were not gap sound in our last ball game. We missed some tackles, as well and things that you’re not going to play good run defense if guys aren’t where they’re supposed to be, especially if you’re trying to get into eight-man fronts and we had some situations even in eight-man fronts, we weren’t where we needed to be. One of the things today that we did was we did a review on some of our run fits, whether it was seven-man fronts or eight-man fronts, just to make sure we all understand where we have to be and where we have to fit up runs. We have to improve in that area.
Q: Did something change schematically that guys are having a hard time picking up or has it just been a letdown from where they were previously?
A: We haven’t changed our run fits in a long, long time. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to and it cost us. We have to get it fixed and we will.
Q: What message are you giving the guys heading into the third quarter of the season?
A: It’s really a new season for us. It’s the second half of the season, this is a break point for us and we have to approach it the right way. This first game is like coming out of a half and that’s what I’ve talked to our team about. You want to start off the second half of the ball game the right way, whether you’re receiving a kick or kicking it off, or whether you’re going out on offense or defense and that’s how we have to approach this game with Seattle. We want to start it off right and there are some things that we have to do in order for that to happen, we’ll get into that on Wednesday, but that’s how we’re looking at it. We want to start this second half the right way.
Q: You have made the
A: Sometimes it’s based on where we are injury-wise or different things we’re looking at on our roster so there are a few different factors.
Q: They seem like they’re having fun with it and staying with it mentally.
A: Yeah, both guys are doing a good job. When they’re out here practicing, they’re doing a good job.
Q: What did you personally do with a free Sunday yesterday?
A: Tried to stay away from football on a Sunday.