Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Another great day here in Minnesota. It feels good to be back at Winter Park. We enjoyed our time down at Minnesota State. We think we got a lot accomplished there but to be back at Winter Park, for our players, is a big deal to be back around their families and friends and it helps coming off a nice win, to be able to come back home and be in this environment. In regards to injuries, John Carlson is still making progress. We’re going to see how he does from day-to-day and make a determination about whether or not we want to try to play him in this ball game or not. Chris Cook and Kyle (Rudolph) are both still under observation. They’re still being evaluated with the concussion symptoms and we’ll learn more about them tomorrow. We know about Geoff Schwartz, we know what his situation is. We expect to get Robert Blanton back this week. We’ll see how he does. He did pretty good today in some of the action that we had. Letroy Guion should be able to practice this week and we’ll make a determination about whether or not we want to play him in this game or not. Same with DeMarcus Love, he’ll get a chance to get back in. He’s made tremendous improvement. We’ll have to make a determination at the end of the week whether or not we want to play him and the same with Jordan Todman as well, he’s making progress as well so we’ll see how he does day-to-day. Looking at that tape with our players and going back and looking at it with the coaches as well from the Buffalo game, a lot of good things happened in that game. A lot of positives, really encouraged by our first offense and first defense, the way they came out. We talked about being able to finish on offense and defense and special teams and being able to execute in certain situations and I thought that we got that done as a whole, with our special teams as well, there were a lot of positives. The energy that the guys came out with, although it was a preseason game, we tried to stress the importance of establishing something at home that you could feel confident about and I thought our first units, along with the other guys who got in eventually, did a good job of setting a foundation for the way we want to play at home.
Q: With Chris Cook and Kyle Rudolph, are you leaning towards keeping them out of this game to be precautious due to it being a preseason game?
A: After I get a little bit more information tomorrow, I’ll have a better idea of what direction we need to go. We’ll see once I get more information.
Q: Were there any concussion-related tests they didn’t pass?
A: No, up to this point, everything is going smoothly and whatever they have to get done tomorrow after that, we’ll know exactly where things are going but so far, everything has been positive.
Q: What about Matt Asiata and Solomon Elimimian?
A: Asiata has a personal situation he had to take care of and in Solomon’s case, he strained his hamstring and we’ll see how he does day-to-day.
Q: What is your plan for Adrian Peterson this week?
A: We’re going to give him a little bit more each day, see how he responds and continue to determine what is the next step. Just go day-to-day. We have some ideas of how we want to approach it but a lot of it is how he feels with some of the things we’re going to give him this week.
Q: When will you decide whether he plays Friday or not?
A: We’ll probably just see how he does with some of the stuff we’ll give him and probably make a determination by Tuesday or Wednesday on if we want to do anymore.
Q: Toby Gerhart has been looking good so you don’t need to throw him in there if you don’t have to.
A: Exactly right. We’ll see how he does and just continue to give him a little bit more and see how he handles it.
Q: How big are the next two weeks for Jasper Brinkley?
A: They’re big for all of us because we’re counting on him to do a good job. I thought he made tremendous leaps from the week before in game action against San Francisco and what he did against Buffalo, you could see him begin to get his legs back under him, you could see the quickness and the burst that we’ve been wanting to see and we’ll get him hopefully quite a few reps in this San Diego game so he can gain confidence and his teammates will continue to gain confidence in him as well but this preseason is a big deal for him with all of the time he has missed.
Q: Have you seen tentativeness from Jasper?
A: I thought early on there was some of that and I wasn’t altogether surprised with all of the time he has missed. When he tried to practice in the OTAs in the offseason, to have trouble then, that will plant a seed in your mind that, ‘I could be a guy that is going to struggle with injuries,’ and to see some of the tentativeness early on wasn’t a surprise but the more he has played, the more comfortable and the more confident he has become and so we just have to keep putting him in those situations so he can just turn it loose and not be worried about getting injured.
Q: When a guy does what Audie Cole did Friday night, how much does that help him in terms of making the team?
A: It definitely helps when a guy makes plays in games. You don’t want to discount that. It means something whether it’s the first unit or the third unit and it was good to see him step up and make some key plays when he had an opportunity to. There were other guys at times who will be in the same situations and won’t make those plays so you like it when a guy does. You take all of that into account. We got a few more weeks here in training camp. We’ll look at his entire body of work as we’re trying to make a decision on what’s best for our team.
Q: Speed was the knock on him in the Draft. Does he do enough to offset that by how he plays on the field?
A: He’s one of those guys who is so long and he’s a long-strider. What some people think is a lack of speed, he’s really closing and moving fairly quickly and his length makes a big difference. Those quarterbacks who think they can line drive a ball in like they did the other night because of his length, all of a sudden that pass is not a completion, it could be an interception. But he has good instincts, he has good anticipation, he’s a smart football player and that can offset a guy who doesn’t have blazing speed.
Q: Even though it’s just a preseason game, is there something to be said walking off the field with a win and positive feelings?
A: It is. I think anytime you play at home, even though you’re going to look at a lot of people in the preseason, you’d rather win those games then come off the field with a loss. You do have to put it into perspective, it is the preseason but it feels a lot better when you win a game than when you don’t come out on top.
Q: Did you see enough from Mistral Raymond to start him alongside Harrison Smith again?
A: Yeah that’s the approach we’re going to take. I think he did a good job in that ball game on Friday night and we want to look at that tandem again and see how they progress. We’ll still work Jamarca [Sanford] in there but as we speak, just go with those two to begin with.
Q: Can you asses Josh Robinson’s performance against Buffalo?
A: I really like some of the things he did in the time that he had. He has shown up each time that he had, even going back to our scrimmage when we had similar live situations. Friday night he did a good job of breaking on the ball, had a really big hit on that caused fumble that Chris Cook had. That was a heck of a hit by Josh. It was good to see a guy playing corner for us, attack the way he did. They tried him on a deep ball and you could see his recovery speed. He’s showing some things but he has to get his conditioning back, and he’d be the first to tell you that with all the time he’s lost but he’s showing some things so we have to keep him out there and keep giving him a chance to grow.
Q: After two preseason games, do you feel ahead of where you want to be or where you think you should be?
A: I think we’re making good progress. I see the guys really coming together and understanding what we’re trying to get accomplished. We have to take advantage of these days we have in a training camp situation, which we still are in training camp although we’re back at Winter Park, we have to take advantage of this time that we do have to take some steps. We still have a ways to go and we still have to bring certain guy along and this time will help us, this game against San Diego will help us. We’re going to play our starters a little bit longer so we’ll get more tape to evaluate the guys who we think are going to lineup against Jacksonville and we need that.
Q: What’s your confidence level in Mistral Raymond being your starter?
A: Like a lot of our guys who are going to play for us this year, he’s a young guy who has limited starting experience in this league so there’s going to be some mistakes and you hope that he’ll learn quickly enough not to repeat those mistakes. He has the athletic ability, he’s smart, he has to get a little bit stronger, and he has gotten stronger over the offseason, but he’s a guy who we think has big upside but we have to keep putting him out there in situations and see how well he can handle it and how well he can improve. He did some real good things on Friday night.
Q: How is Trevor Guyton coming along?
A: Trevor is doing some good things. He got in there with the backup group on Friday night and made a few plays. Sometimes he has to be a little more stout in certain situations. We had him in there in a goal line situation we’d like for him to be a little more stout in. He’s working hard, he’s making improvements, he’s getting a better feeling of what the pro game is like early on, that was a little bit of a struggle because of the speed of the game but he’s beginning to hold his own and play a lot better.
Q: Are you planning on playing the starters a series in the second half against the Chargers?
A: We’re talking about possibly doing that, opening up that second half with our starters. We’ll see how the week goes on and how the game goes as well.
Q: Have you made any determinations if this is the game where you start scaling back Jerome Simpson?
A: We are. We’re going to have him in there but we’re going to have to take a look at some guys who are maybe going to be playing in that first game. We’re definitely going to approach it like the first ball game of the season and we wouldn’t have Jerome for that first game.
Q: Is Jerome going to start?
A: We haven’t made that determination yet.
Q: How much is Marvin Mitchell in the mix for a top-3 linebacker spot?
A: The door’s not closed. We still have another big ball game this week where starters are going to play a lot and we’re still evaluating those positions so the door’s not closed. He has an opportunity to compete. We don’t want to shut the door yet and just let those continue to battle.
Q: How good does it feel to talk about interceptions?
A: It feels good to not have to talk about the lack of and hopefully that will be the case for a long period during our season but as you know, those turnovers come in bunches and once you get a few, they’ll continue to come. For us, that’s a point of emphasis this offseason, whether it be fumbles, whether it be interceptions, you can see in the first two games this season guys trying to strip the ball out and guys trying to get their hands on balls so we’ve been emphasizing it and hopefully it’ll pay off for us when the season rolls around.
Q: With Devin Aromashodu, he is going up and competing for those balls but he hasn’t come down with one yet so he’s clearly taking the message but it’s not translating into production.
A: What happened on Friday night isn’t all his issue. He’s doing everything we ask him to do, we just have to keep the ball in play and give him a chance to make a play on the ball but he’s trying to get that part of his game where we want it and it’s encouraging to see because we think he has the ability to make those hard and contested catches, we just have to give him an opportunity to do so other than out of bounds.
Q: He had one in the end zone, was that another one of those instances?
A: Yeah it was one of those when you look at the tape, it’s hard to fault Devin in that situation. He did everything we asked him to do.
Q: Will Emmanual Arcenaux get more of an opportunity?
A: It was good to see him step up and make that big play that he made. We’ve been talking about him and how we can give him more opportunities in this next game or maybe for sure in that final game but we want to make sure we’re taking a real hard look at where he is and where he might fit in to what we’re trying to accomplish.