WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2012
Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Good morning. We have our second practice today and we’re looking forward to it. We got a lot achieved yesterday and I’ve really enjoyed this spring up to this point.
Q: Are you aware of any issues with Percy Harvin?
A: No, I’m not aware.
Q: Have you had any conversations with him about his role in the offense?
A: We do on a consistent basis and we’re really excited that he’s here this week. He’s been engaged in the meetings, we got him out on the field a little bit in certain periods yesterday, so it’s a good thing that he’s here.
Q: How is your relationship with Percy?
Q: Were you surprised to hear that he had requested a trade?
A: I’m not aware of the details or specifics, but I know coach Frazier said yesterday that they’ll continue to have good dialogue to resolve those issues.
Q: Have you made plans this minicamp or for training camp to use him more?
A: Yes. We’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to getting him on the field and as an offense we’re looking forward to having a better year. That’s the bottom line.
Q: Do have an ideal number of snaps for him?
A: Not necessarily. We have an ideal win total to get us in the tournament, that’s for sure. Whatever it takes to get us in there in January.
Q: What does he feel like his ideal role is?
A: I think he wants to contribute, like any player. He wants to help the team win regardless of individual stats. He’s team-oriented and that bodes well for the Vikings’ future.
Q: Do you feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time?
A: No, not necessarily. We are really moving forward with a good pace. We’ve had a good spring up to this point and a couple more days to finish it out and be ready to springboard to training camp.
Q: What do you see from Christian Ponder to make you think he can make the leap from where he was last year?
A: I think each day he goes out there he improves. I think each player on our offense is improving. He’s going to be fine, talking about Christian. Our focus has to be, collectively and individually, of doing a better job, each and every one of us, whether it be the blockers, the runners, the catchers and the coaches, but he’s going to be fine.
Q: With an improved offensive line, are you going to be able to get an extra guy running patterns?
A: That would be great for us. We really had a good spring. Those guys have started to gel, the five guys we’ve started playing. We haven’t had Geoff Schwartz our there until yesterday he got a few snaps at the end of the period in two minute but when you talk about the right side with Brandon Fusco and Phil [Loadholt], very physical and explosive. And the left side is really going to be fun to watch with Charlie [Johnson] at right guard and our rookie at left tackle.
Q: What kind of steps has Brandon Fusco made from year one to year two? It looks like his body is in a complete different shape.
A: I would agree with you. He’s really worked hard. In fact, early in the offseason he went up to Pennsylvania and worked out with some of his buddies on the Steelers, being that he’s from Slippery Rock. He came back to engage in our program and I know Tom [Kanavy] could talk more about how much muscle mass he has gained but we’re very excited about his future.
Q: How have you seen Kyle Rudolph’s game change with John Carlson now on the team?
A: Both those guys complement one another. John Carlson is a little bit more stocky and quicker out of his breaks while Kyle is long and lean and has long stride length. I’m looking forward to both those guys being able to exploit matchups on linebackers and safeties. They’ve really been working on their route running and also their rapport with the quarterbacks so we can throw with anticipation and make sure we complete them when we do throw it to them.
Q: Do you see Kyle being more explosive now that he’s healed?
A: That makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. He’s getting more comfortable with the routes we’re asking him to run, too, and where his strengths lie so he can gain separation from his defenders.
Q: How do you go about giving up the reps in training camp to get Jerome Simpson ready to play but also see who can contribute there while he’s out?
A: That’s a quandary that we’ve talked about as a staff. I know Leslie has addressed it with him so we have a plan in place. We not only want to get Jerome comfortable with our system but get his understudy or his stand-in ready for those three weeks so we’ll have a plan in place so both of those guys can get adequate work in those preseason games, all four of them, but also plan for his absence which is going to be a tough obstacle to overcome but we have a plan to do it.
Q: Is Greg Childs one of those guys who can help you?
A: Yes he is. There’s some good competition there with our veterans and our young guys.
Q: Has Childs been able to participate?
A: We were just talking about that yesterday. He finished the whole practice. He didn’t say a word and up to that point the calf had been a problem but he worked through it and we’re hoping that’s in the rear view mirror.
Q: Are you pleased with what you’ve seen from Simpson early on?
A: He’s really done a good job of immersing himself in the system. It’s distinctly different from Cincinnati’s system. We’ve got him playing our X position and he’s done a great job of really knowing what to do and doing it at a high level.
Q: How will you handle the next month with the players not being around, specifically Ponder?
A: Historically we’ve tried to keep their minds fresh with emails and correspondence in terms of quarterback quizzes and reminders regarding protection and concepts, maybe our run game concepts. We also want them to decompress a little bit and recharge their batteries so they can crescendo when we get to Mankato. It’s tough to keep that intensity for a long period of time. We hope that they take a deep breath and recharge and are ready to hit the ground running at the end of July.
Q: How do you foresee the role of Jarius Wright, inside or outside?
A: I think both. Yesterday, it was hot out there, the wind saved us a little bit, but Jarius was another guy that really took the bit and finished the whole practice and jumped in there. Stephen Burton was a scratch about mid-practice and Jarius stayed in there at the flanker position and there’s another guy that knows what to do and is getting better and better at doing it the right way each rep.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2012
Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Q: What’s it been like getting in here and getting started?
A: It’s an exciting process. I look forward to the guys, we have great guys here in Minnesota, guys who are willing to work, guys who are willing to show up. We always say the first rule of success is to show up and our guys are doing that in a big way in OTAs. The percentage of the guys that are here each and every day, that have been here consistently working so the process has been good and I’m looking forward to camp and August to see if all the work we put in until now pays off.
Q: How many differences do you anticipate schematically?
A: There will be a few wrinkles and I’m not going to tell everybody who may be listening what those wrinkles will be, but my plan is to build a defense around the strength of our guys when I have fully figured what everybody does well We have guys returning, Chris Cook for example, Jared Allen is returning, as you all know, Chad Greenway, I’m waiting to see what those guys do best and tailor the defense around that. I know the guys work unbelievably hard, they run to the ball, they pay attention to detail. I’ll get with the coaching staff after this minicamp is over and we’ll talk about what I think our guys can do and we’ll see if as coaches we can put them in those places to be successful.
Q: What have you seen right away from Chad Greenway?
A: He’s instinctive, he gets around the ball, he’s an unbelievable pass defender, don’t take that the wrong way and think he doesn’t play the run well, because he does. I think the pass is what he does exceptionally well, as good as anybody in the NFL. Again, I said he’s instinctive, he finds his way to the ball. If I call something that’s, quote unquote, the wrong defense, he can make it right so he can make a coordinator look good and the guys follow him and the guys gravitate towards him.
Q: Does Chris Cook have the edge over the others because of experience?
A: Egde? I don’t know. I would say yeah, but I would wait until the end to figure out what our depth chart will be. He’s the leading vote getter, so to speak, right now and I fully expect him to be there when we line up in September. Again, I’m going to wait and see how he produces on the field and everything right now says he’s looking to have a good season, a good career and he will be a phenomenal corner in the NFL.
Q: How much movement is there in the first 11?
A: There’s been some movement in the first unit. We’ve put a few guys in. Everson Griffen has gone in and out. He’s been inside, he’s been outside. D’Aundre Reed has done a good job for us in terms of the hustle and intensity that he brings. I tell you, he’s one that is going to give tackles and centers all they can handle if he’s inside or outside. You have to pack a lunch because he comes to play every play so there’s going to be some movement in there. We’ll look and see, and one thing we like to do, this is Minnesota and I heard there’s great hockey here, we like to have hockey lineup. When one group goes out, the next group comes in and we fully expect the guys that are in there will play hard and will hustle and will be productive. We look to have eight guys who have significant reps in the lineup.
Q: Will Jasper Brinkley be ready for training camp?
A: I would expect so. I kind of stay out of the medical business and let the trainers tell me when he’ll be ready and if he’s ready, and he fully expects to be, we’ll be ready for him to go.
Q: How do you feel about the depth behind Jasper?
A: Outstanding. I feel good about our entire depth on the football team as a whole. At linebacker we have good quality guys that can play and what we’re looking for, we’re not looking for a MIKE a WILL or SAM, we’re looking for just good linebackers and we’ll plug them in and let them play. Again, we’ll adjust the defense around what our guys do well.
Q: Are you comfortable with the secondary?
A: I think a lot of people look at deficiency in terms of how good the guys are. I don’t necessarily look at that. I think our guys need to be more consistent with what we do and if we’re more consistent in what we do and the best 53 guys are on the team as a whole and then however many we carry on defense, from top to bottom, I fully expect our guys to play winning football. If they play consistently in terms of getting lined up, getting to the football and their technique and I don’t think you all will consider that a deficiency
Q: You’re rotating safeties a lot, are you waiting for guys to step up?
A: I’m still in the evaluation process and coach Woods is still in that same process, evaluating the guys and seeing who can play. It takes time to figure out who a guy is. We don’t have a lot of guys with a ton of experience, so what we’re trying to do is put them in situation and see how they function, see how they practice, see if they can be consistent and then we’ll make some decisions down the road but right now it’s just an evaluation process.
Q: How about having a veteran like Antoine Winfield?
A: Very, very, very valuable to me. I’ll never underestimate the value of the leaders that we’ll have on the team and what they bring to the football field in terms of he’s seen it, he’s done it and he’s done it for a lot of years so that helps when a coach says something, players have a tendency to say, ‘I’ve heard that over and over and over from the coach,” but when a player is backing you up, and that’s one great thing about the guys that we have here, I’ll say it, they’ll back me up and then everyone listens so that’s been invaluable to me.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2012
Vikings Special Team Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: Who is the best special teams player you have that you didn’t know about?
A: That’s a good question. As I’m sure the other coaches have said, we’re doing a lot of things right now, mainly fundamentals and techniques and we’re not in pads yet. I think special teams comes down to when you’re in full pads and seeing them run around and doing the techniques you want them to do along with everything else that comes along with playing football with full pads. I’m excited about a lot of our young guys. I’m excited about our draft from last year and this year. I’m excited about some of the other guys our personnel people brought in. I think we’re on the right road.
Q: What did you see from some of the new faces that have been able to catch some punts and how comfortable do they look?
A: I’ve mentioned this before, I’ve been at places where we’d have maybe one or two guys that could catch punts. When I was at Denver without Eddie Royal, we had nobody else that could catch a punt and so we had to develop a lot of young guys. Now, you guys have seen that we have seven, eight, nine guys back there catching punts and most of them have done a pretty good job and all of them are very serious about getting better at it. That’s very encouraging, who is going to make the team, who is going to be there on gameday? I don’t have as many concerns as I have had in the past where you just don’t know. You know where the starter is usually coming from because you’re going to get him dressed. It’s that backup guy like last year, Greg Camarillo was that backup. You knew you had that guy who was going to be secure back there if you lost your starter. I think we have some other options here that we haven’t had in the past.
Q: Did you like having all of that wind yesterday?
A: No. For the returner part, yeah. I think that’s okay. It’s not very realistic wind. Even if it’s that windy in a stadium, it’s going to be different than it was yesterday. That was very, very difficult. It was difficult to kick and punt in and obviously, to return. I guess every now and then, if you cut it in half, we didn’t need the hurricane force winds but a little bit less than that would have been good.
Q: Have you found out anything about Blair Walsh in the last month that you didn’t know about him?
A: I did a lot of research, obviously. I had several conversations with him at the Combine. Went down to Athens to work him out. He’s a very intelligent young man. He knows his craft very well. Wasn’t sure how coachable he was going to be, but it turns out he is very coachable. He’s open to a lot of suggestions that he and I have talked about. Ultimately, when you get to this level, and I think I have said this to you guys before, a kicker and punter, snapper-type guys, they know their craft. There’s a reason why they are successful. Blair understands his craft, he knows why he is good but I think I have been around long enough, I’ve seen enough out of young kickers that I’ve helped develop in the past where I can make minor suggestions and then I let him figure it out from there because ultimately he has to believe in his technique. He has to believe what he knows is going to make him successful and I think that’s the direction we’re headed. He’s done a nice job this spring. He’s extremely coachable which I’m very pleased about.
Q: It sounds like he is going to be the only kicker on the roster going into training camp. Is that important with a young kicker to focus on just himself?
A: I think competition is a great thing to be honest with you. I don’t mind competition but I think with what we’re trying to accomplish with Blair and the chemistry between Cullen (Loeffler), Chris (Kluwe), and Blair, to me, is extremely important. If we had another kicker in camp, I think you’re going to share that a little bit. I don’t think he’d be worried about competition. I wouldn’t be worried about competition because he’s been very successful kickoff-wise. He’s got a big-time leg. I wanted to make sure that field goal-wise, that we have the chemistry between those guys rolling even before we got to camp and I think we’re doing a good job in that respect. They work very, very hard and they’ve worked really well together this spring.
Q: Was there a mechanical issue last year with him?
A: Way too fast. He was rushing every kick. Every kick he missed, he hit them well, but he was much too fast with his get off time. I don’t know if that was what he was coached to do, maybe that’s what he wanted to do. Usually you watch the ball get snapped to start his approach. I have him watching the holder’s hand. When the holder lifts up his left hand, that’s when he’s going. That’s what I’ve been coaching for years. To me, that’s what has helped a lot of kickers be successful.
Q: Are we talking about tenths of a second?
A: Probably a tenth of a second, yeah. Which means a lot for a kicker believe it or not. I actually had him 2/10 or 3/10 of a second too quick. He had a 1.02, I timed him in college. It was a 48-yarder that he missed and that’s way too fast. You’re not giving the holder time to even give you a good hold and that’s another part of the deal, you want to make sure that the holder can get it down, on the spot with the laces, with the tilt that he wants. He couldn’t get that last year when he goes too fast and even here we’ve had to slow him down a little bit. I don’t mind him being slow right now in that we can get him back up to where we need him by the season.
Q: Have you seen guys who are good at catching punts but don’t have the instincts when running?
A: Yeah, ultimately that’s what makes a great returner, if you have the instincts. A lot of guys can catch them. It’s having the vision, it’s having the courage to do it when there are people coming down on you. You can catch them all day now because you know you’re not going to get hit. At the end of the day, we’re going to go with the best guy that’s going to have great ball security number one, give the ball back to the offense is always our number one goal. Ball security is of the utmost importance obviously, and then it’s the guy who can hit the seam, do what we’re asking him to do, can lose ground if he needs to go get to the wall or whatever type of return that we’re running, a guy that’s going to be able to do what he’s asked to do at a high level and that’s the guy that’s going to win the job.