TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Feels good to be back practicing football and having our entire team here, which is fantastic. I think the only guy we were missing was Eric Frampton who had an illness. Other than that, we have everybody here and we can begin to really, in earnest, look forward to 2012 and just talk to the guys about our goals and what we want to have established within our team, really gets all of us excited and the fact that we’ve had great participation throughout the offseason, the OTAs went about as well as could be expected. We got a lot done during that period of time and to bring everybody together in that classroom a little while ago and just talk with each one of them about this season and what we’re looking forward to. I think it just gets everybody kind of charged up about the future. We’re looking forward to three great days. The walkthrough was good this morning and we’ll come back this afternoon and have a practice and we’ll finish up on Thursday.
Q: When did you learn Chad Greenway was going to participate?
A: He had mentioned to me on Friday, unless some emergency came up, he had planned on being here. When I didn’t hear from him this morning or last night, I had a sense that he would probably make it.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Percy? He mentioned he was not happy with some things.
A: Yeah, we have and we’re going to talk some more but the good thing is he is here. Just happy that he is here and participating and a part of what we’re doing and looking forward to him having a great 2012.
Q: He said he might not do much at this mini-camp.
A: We weren’t planning on having him to do very much. He’s only two months away from his surgery and we had already made that decision.
Q: Is the contract the issue with him?
A: No. He and I will talk some more. That’s something we’ll talk through.
Q: Is it his role with the offense that’s the issue?
A: No, as I mentioned before, there are some things that he and I will talk through and we’ll get those resolved.
Q: It’s not something that’s alarming to you, is it?
A: No, it’s not something that can’t be handled, something that we can’t talk through. Not at all, not an alarm at all.
Q: Would you say the chances are high that he’ll be at training camp?
A: Yeah, I don’t any reason why he wouldn’t be at training camp. I expect him to be at camp. I expect all of our guys to be at camp.
Q: Is it nice to see Jared Allen here and see the progress he’s been making?
A: Yeah, when he came up to my office yesterday afternoon, I gave him a big hug. Just great to see him, great to see him in the building. First time I’ve seen him in awhile so just excited to see him around his teammates and participating in what we have going. He’s a guy with a lot of energy as you well know. He’s one of the leaders on our team and glad to have him back in the building.
Q: Given the production he was able to have last year with the workouts he did, are you a little bit more okay with him doing it on his own?
A: These are voluntary sessions. You can’t get around that. Guys have the option to attend those OTAs or not attend them but the fact that he’s at the mandatory mini-camp, that’s a positive for our team and having him around is a big plus. We bank on the fact that he’s here.
Q: He talked about how much energy he has and said he sometimes needs a break to maintain that. As a former player, do you understand that?
A: I do to a degree. Sometimes to whom much is given, much is required and the guys that are star athletes sometimes and the guys that are very talented and are in a leadership role, sometimes they shoulder a little bit more than some of the players on your squad. Jared has broad shoulders, he does a good job of deflecting a lot of things for our team and obviously he’s a playmaker in a major way for us. It’s good to have him around. Glad he’s here at this mandatory mini-camp and just the energy that he brings is a plus for a lot of players. They feed off of that on our team, both offense, defense, and special teams.
Q: Where is Chris Cook now as a starting-caliber NFL cornerback?
A: We’re hoping that he will be a starter for us this next season but we’re still early. We haven’t even put on pads. We have so much work to do between now and when we open the season up against Jacksonville. He’s one of those guys who we’re counting on to really help our football team in 2012. We’ll see how it unfolds over the weeks and months to come.
Q: Do you like what you’ve seen from him so far?
A: I do. The approach he is taking, the attitude, the way he’s working, the way he’s interacting with his teammates. So far, so good.
Q: Can you characterize how John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph and growing together?
A: The thing about both Kyle and John, they have a history. They kind of knew each other from their days at Notre Dame and I remember even when we drafted Kyle, we talked a little bit about John. There’s a relationship that was already there and now that’s really grown. We’d like those guys to be in tandem for us, to be an outstanding pair and we fully expect that but that fact that there was a foundation before we even signed John, I think that kind of helps us and they’re doing well. They’re both doing well.
Q: Percy was angry when he talked. Are you concerned?
A: I really feel like when he and I sit down and talk in depth about whatever is on his heart or on his mind, we’ll get through it.
Q: What does it mean for your secondary to have Antoine Winfield back out there?
A: It’s big. His leadership is a big deal for us obviously with the new faces that we have and he’s an extremely talented guy and is so well-respected by not only other players around the League, but obviously the players on our team, and to have him around and participating and really being a coach on the field is a big deal for us. The health the last couple of years has been an issue. We’re hoping that he’s able to stay healthy and we have to be able to help him in some ways, in that way, but having him around is big for our team.
Q: How much can he play on the outside right now?
A: Before his injury, he was still playing at a high level, a season ago. We’ll have to monitor some of the things he does in practice to help him because of the time he’s had in the League and how violently he plays but we’ll see how that goes. We’re going to definitely help him when it comes to training camp.
Q: Adrian Peterson still seems optimistic about his knee. Is it obvious to expect him to start training camp on the PUP list?
A: It’s not that far out anymore but we’ve talked about some scenarios and gone through some what-ifs but so far, he’s on pace with everything the doctors have asked him to do, just in talking with (head trainer) Eric Sugarman that even yesterday in his examination, they were really pleased with some of the things they saw. We’re optimistic that things are still on course for him to play in that home opener. What we do in training camp, we’ll wait and see when we get to that point. We have talked about different options.
Q: Was Eric Frampton here today?
A: Frampton was the only guy that wasn’t. He had an illness and he was the only guy who wasn’t here today. He should be here tomorrow.
Q: What do you expect from Phil Loadholt as a guy who is entering a contract year and has been inconsistent at times?
A: Phil and I talked when we began phase one of the offseason program about just that point, the consistency in his game. That’s what he wants, that’s what we want to see, more consistency in his play. We need him to really be an anchor for us on the offensive line and take more of a leadership role for us at this point in his career and we think he can but we need him to play a consistent high level throughout the year and if that’s the case, our offensive line will take a dramatic improvement but we need him to really take the reins for us, from a consistency standpoint along with leadership.
Q: What’s his ceiling in the pass blocking game?
A: I think he’s one of the top offensive tackles, right tackle in particular, when it comes to pass blocking. That’s his strength. He’s very good at it. He’s also a very good run blocker. The thing that Phil has struggled with is doing it down in and down out and if we can get that, we’re going to be better and that’s his goal and that’s our goal for him.
Q: Over this mini-camp, how do you balance looking at how you expect guys to line up and looking at those guys who might be on the bubble?
A: That’ll be a part of this mini-camp, but it’s also been a part of the OTAs, just trying to see guys in different positions and putting them in some stressful situations to see how they respond but until we get the pads on in Mankato, you have to be careful about passing judgment but we’re trying to do some things just to get a feel for where they are mentally and how they work and that helps us as we prepare for Mankato.
Q: Considering where you were a year ago with the lockout, how would you assess how the coaching staff is going through the OTAs?
A: Going back from the Senior Bowl, having a chance to work there, and then coming back to the offseason program, it has been great for our staff just to get a chance to get to know each other a little bit better in a different environment where you’re not preparing for Week 1 of the season. You’re preparing for the offseason and it just helps us to be able to plan, work together, and then have a chance to work with our players, kind of brings it all together. I can’t underestimate the importance of a first-time staff having the chance to work here, especially when you don’t know very much about your players other than what you see on tape. It’s been great for us as a staff.
TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012
Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen
Q: Is it great to be back on the practice field?
A: I don’t think I’m ever happy to be back on the practice field. No, it’s good to be back in town. I approach minicamp with basically the same mentality every year. I’ve got certain things I’m trying to work on; my stance, my get-off and you slowly work into your block reactions and stuff like that. It’s kind of a way to break up the offseason and get a little football in and then get back to your mindset of training camp.
Q: After last season, do you just try to do everything the same this offseason?
A: Absolutely, I’m trying to keep my training the same and trying to do a little bit more. Obviously I fell one short. I think it’s one of those things that at the end of the year I was like, ‘I’m 23 away again after being one away,’ so when I started working out again it was like, ‘What can I do to produce a little bit more?’ Once you realize it’s possible, it sinks into your mind that it’s actually a capable goal and something that I can hopefully reproduce again. Obviously, a lot of things went right, but I’m just trying to keep that routine the same and trying to get all the extra work in with my trainers and, heck, I’m even going up to the altitude. I’m going to start doing some up in Tahoe. I’m 30 now so I’m trying to do whatever I can to keep up with the young guys.
Q: You didn’t come to the optional workouts, is that because of how comfortable you are with the workouts you’ve been doing?
A: Absolutely. Like I said, I have a great team in Arizona. It’s kind of one of those things that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Coach was great. He understood why and he understood that what they do is my mindset. Last year was so great, even though we weren’t winning, things were just real positive, especially coming off of that 2010 season when it was just a ball of negativity around here. That’s what I told coach. I said, ‘I got my trainers and everything is focused in the right direction down here and that’s where I’m trying to stay.’ I know there are a lot of young guys and they want veteran leadership, but we have plenty of time for that during training. The best way I can lead is being the best player I can out on the field and I feel like, for me, that’s having a full offseason with my trainers and coming back kind of away because we had the lockout. When we got back here it’s kind of been awhile and everyone was excited to get back to work so it’s kind of just producing that same thing. I’ve been away so I told coach I’m excited to be here for minicamp. Get three days, laughing, joking and everything and gear up for training camp when it really counts.
Q: Are you amazed with how well Chad Greenway is handling everything?
A: I found out about it through the grapevine and I’ve expressed my condolences to him and my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes it is good to get back. As much as it is, all this stuff, we have lives and life can catch up with us and this can be a place of refuge where you can kind of just forget about things and just go about doing what you know best. Chad’s a strong guy and like I said, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family
Q: How much communications have you had with the new coaches prior to minicamp?
A: I’ve talked to coach Williams on the phone a bunch and when I was up here for the FCA stuff, him and coach Frazier came out to the house so I got to spend some time with them. Coach Williams, I’m trying to get him to smile a little bit. I haven’t spent much time around him, but I’m trying to get him to smile a little more. You got to have fun while you’re doing this. Brendan Daly was here in ’08 when I was first here so I have a pretty good relationship with him and I know him pretty well. I’m excited to see how he’s developed as a coach and get to work with him. I always feel like you can learn new things and it’s always nice to have a different perspective of communication. Maybe he views something that I can do better or vice-a-versa, so, for me, the game of football is always evolving so therefore I’m always trying to evolve and keep my craft at what I do within the set box of what I’m capable of doing so I’m excited to work with him.
Q: How is Daly’s style compared to Dunbar’s style?
A: You know what, he’s very energetic and very out there but I think he knows. He knows Kevin [Williams] and I. Dunbar did a great job of managing us and I think Brendan knows that, too. I think he knows we can trust him to work us when we need to be worked and rest us when we need to be rested. Again, the philosophies are still the same so it’s not someone coming in here trying to teach me to be a spinner. It’s not what I’m going to do. Our philosophies are the same so that way it’s going to mesh and Diron [Reynolds] is still here so we have some continuity in our room.
Q: Is getting the league record for sacks in a season one of your personal goals?
A: Absolutely, like I said earlier, I think before you get that close, you’re not really sure if it’s attainable. You always think it is, because you always think if someone did it, I can do it but being right there and actually leaving some stuff on the field, they took the one away in Green Bay, they gave it a team sack, and there were a couple in my arms or the ones that were just that close. At the end of the year I’m kind of bummed out because I’m 23 away again versus one away but when you start working out again, it’s motivation, just how can I push myself just a little bit further, which I always think comes down to conditioning, maybe if I take one more step or one more this or that. So you go back and watch film and try to correct technique and just use it as motivation to get to work. It’s always a personal goal and if I’m ofrutnate enough and blessed enough to break it one day, I’m going to try to break it again. It’s always a personal goal but personal goals never get in the way of team goals. Our ultimate goal is to win a championship, otherwise there’s no point of playing the game. You play a team sport to win the ultimate team prize and that’s the Super Bowl
Q: Is two sacks per game possible?
A: As much as they throw it, you would think but I think the numbers get skewed when you look at how many times they throw because you have to take into consideration circumstances, leads and three-steps and stuff like that. Two a game, I don’t know if two a game is possible.
Q: What is possible?
A: I think 25 is possible. Someone will eventually get it. Just look at some of the athletes that are coming. Look at the DeMarcus Ware’s of the league and the matchups he creates as a 3-4 guy on a running back, so I think it’s possible. But then again, no one has ever had two 20-sack seasons in their career in the history of the NFL so someone has to do that first. Like I said, I believe 25 is a number that will get hit one year. When? I don’t know.
Q: What clicked for you last year to allow you to get that close?
A: Honestly I think it was just the development of my mindset. Like I said, I constantly try to grow as a human being. Herm Edwards taught me one time, I’ll take good men and they will become good football players. I think the more I grow as a human, I really grew in my faith last year and really was able to play more free. I use the phrase don’t care but it wasn’t like you don’t care about the outcome of the game, but you’re not hung up on the ‘I didn’t get this or I didn’t get this.’ It wasn’t an ‘I’ mentality, I was just going out there and having fun and thanking god that I have the opportunity to play a game. That’s what I took away from 2010, if you get caught up in the negativity; it really affects your play because you’re focused on other things. So I’m just trying to keep that positive mind set and, for me, I continue to try and grow being a father and husband. There are more important things other than football and when you realize football is a blessing and a great way to provide for the other things in my life, it really took a lot of pressure off and you just kind of go there and have fun. Last year it kind of seemed like the game slowed down and just put a smile on your face and move forward.
Q: Have you been keeping tabs on Adrian Peterson’s rehab?
A: I haven’t. I watch SportsCenter like everyone else like, ‘Oh, it looks like Adrian’s running up a hill, that’s cool.’ I think he has like 17 different phone numbers every year so I don’t really know which one to text. He is a remarkable player. His work ethic is second to none. The guy is always in phenomenal shape and if anybody can do it, he can. I don’t know where his progress is and what not, but he seems optimistic so therefore I’m optimistic. That dude, he’s a machine so I would be surprised if he’s not back but obviously we have a great training staff they’re going to do what’s right.
Q: Is it a double edged sword for you because they are throwing more but there are also more three-step drops?
A: Yeah, it’s tough, like I said. You have to work through that frustration because as soon as people see the ball thrown people are saying, ‘Why isn’t the quarterback on the ground?’ Sometimes, especially when we were so good against the run game, people use the short passing game as a run game and that can frustrate you but there are other ways to make plays. You can start batting balls down and again, you score points and take that away. If you have a lead, everyone knows they have to drop back and throw it.