MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
It feels good to be preparing for the season opener on Sunday. The fact that we’re going to be opening up at home for the first time since 2007 is pretty exciting for our players, exciting for our entire organization. I think the roster that we put together is one that gives us the best chance to succeed in 2012. We’re excited about the guys that are here and we’re looking forward to kicking this season off, looking forward to the work that we have ahead of us. It’s an exciting time for all of us.
Q: With how young you are it seems you’re looking for the future, but these are the best guys that won the jobs for right now?
A: We think so. When we sat down throughout the preseason, and going back through the OTA’s, as we talked about our roster and how it should shape up. The guys that end up making our ball club, they’re on our final 53 plus the practice squad guys, we think are the guys that will give us the best chance to be successful here in 2012.
Q: What did you see in A.J. Jefferson?
A: We liked some things that he did with his cover ability. He has the ability to cover man and also play some zone coverage, good press corner, but he can also play off. He’s a willing tackler, we like that part of his game. We felt like he would give us something that we wanted. We wanted a guy who could play some man coverage and he’s shown that he has the strength to do that. His speed, his athleticism, he’s a good kickoff return guy as well. He’s a long guy with his size, we liked that as well.
Q: Was it an age thing between Jefferson and Chris Carr?
A: Not at all, that never entered into the equation. It was about what guy could fit what we’re trying to get done on defense that would really help us have a chance to win on Sundays. We felt like A.J. gave us some things that we were looking for and that’s why he’s here.
Q: What did some of the players who came out of the shadows like Matt Asiata or Andrew Sendejo do to impress you?
A: Both of those guys you have to tip your hat off to, particularly Matt. When you consider he was here with us a year ago, didn’t have an offseason, really took a little time for him to catch on to what we we’re trying to do a year ago. We kind of stayed in touch and brought him back and his confidence, having an offseason, really helped him tremendously. When he got in the ball game he showed why he deserved that third running back spot. Andrew, what he did on special teams, it’s hard to ignore. He did a great job every time that we lined up in the preseason and he worked extremely hard at our practices as well. He shows some things as a backup safety that you’re looking for if you’re going to keep a guy on the roster as a backup.
Q: What specifically will you look for in Adrian Peterson as you monitor where he’s headed?
A: We’re trying to determine as we are putting a game plan in is, how is he from a mental standpoint and picking that up and things we want to get done. Also, physically when we get on the field, some of the things we’re going to ask him to do; how he responds to some of the things we’re going to ask him to do. Catching the football, certain runs that we want him to be able to make in practice so we can kind of gauge if he’s ready to line up against an opponent. We won’t do any heavy contact for obvious reasons but we need to see him do some things physically within some things that we’re trying to get done against Jacksonville.
Q: How much will you weigh Adrian’s morale into the decision to play?
A: You really have to take the emotion out of it. You have to really hone in on what’s best for him, what’s best for our team. Adrian is not just another guy on our team; he is in so many ways the face of what we try to do. We have to be able to see the big picture when it comes to him and that’s the way we’ll approach it.
Q: Do you worry he won’t be able to see the big picture?
A: There was a point where I maybe would have worried about that but as of late, I think he has really bought into some of the things we’ve been talking to him about from a preparation standpoint and how we want to approach this regular season. So not anymore, I think now he understands how we’re trying to see things.
Q: Is that a decision you’ll take right down to Sunday?
A: Yes without question. We’re going to give him and give our team every chance possible before we make that decision.
Q: With Josh Robinson and Mistral Raymond being out here today, are they good to go to play Sunday?
A: Yes, both those guys have been cleared. They went through practice today, we expect to have them go full out Wednesday as well.
Q: Is Mistral your starting safety?
A: There is a chance for it. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that as the week goes on. He did some good things but between him and Jamarca [Sanford] we’re going to work that out.
Q: Marvin Mitchell, Andrew Sendejo, Marcus Sherels and Jarius Wright were out today, what is their status?
A: Marvin Mitchell, we’ll see how it goes, he has a high ankle sprain so that takes a little more time. Sendejo, Marcus, Jarius; we’re going to see how they do. Each one of them, they all have ankles and Marvin is probably the one most in jeopardy to play in this first ball game.
Q: When you look at Marcus Sherels, how does he keep making the 53?
A: You have to credit his tenacity. He is one of those guys who is a little undersized but he plays a lot bigger than he is and he’s a multi-purpose guy. He does a good job for us on special teams; he’s probably going to end up being our starting punt returner. That, along with what he gives us as a backup defensive back, probably cemented his role on our football team. The punt return capabilities is one of the things that made him a valuable option for our team.
Q: What is your plan for Percy Harvin returning kicks?
A: He is quite a weapon as a kickoff return guy and obviously from an offensive standpoint with the type of season he had a year ago. We’ll take a look during the course of the week and look at what Jacksonville does on kickoff as well to determine when we put him back there and how often we put him back there. We’ll continue to evaluate that throughout the week.
Q: If Adrian does enough to be cleared to play Sunday, what is your comfort level with how many carries he’ll have?
A: We wouldn’t want to approach it, for sure, if he makes it back with the mindset that he has gone through an entire offseason with his teammates. We recognize if he’s able to get in this first ball game, it’ll be with limited exposure. We’ll talk about it as the week goes on and see how he’s doing and if it’s even a valuable option to let him play.
Q: Do you almost have to have two game plans whether Adrian is in or not?
A: Not really, with Toby [Gerhart] we can run our offense even if Adrian isn’t in there. We feel like we don’t have to change any of our plays, we’re very confident and comfortable with Toby being our lead back if that’s the case. The same runs that Adrian would have would be the same runs that Toby would have. Obviously when Adrian is running the ball there are some differences in some of the things he does, but we wouldn’t change our run scheme.
Q: If you need Matt Asiata in there, is he ready to carry the ball as well?
A: We think so, that’s one of the reasons we kept him on the roster. We feel like if he has to play, he can step in and do a good job for us.
Q: What is your level of confidence that Adrian will be there on Sunday?
A: He’s done a good job from the time we’ve allowed him to begin practice. The game just takes on a whole different mindset for everybody, even the level of practice changes, the intensity. We have to see him get through some things and see how he handles certain things from a mental and physical standpoint. It’s different when there is no endpoint, in his case he knew a few weeks ago he wasn’t going to play in the preseason. Now the mindset changes a little bit and we have to see how he handles that.
Q: How’s John Carlson been since coming back to practice?
A: He’s been pretty good. We need to get him through this entire week. We’ve had him on a limited basis so we need to get him through this week healthy and see him do some things and let our quarterback get comfortable with him as well so there’s some things that we need to see along with Christian that will make us all more comfortable.
Q: How far behind was Carlson?
A: That part of it, he’s on top of. We could see that last week when he came back and even today when we did some of the things we’re doing, but the physical aspect, like when we put the pads on Thursday, we’ll learn a little bit more about where he is when we get a chance to bang a little bit and have him in certain situations, but mentally, he seems to be on top of what his assignments are.
Q: What were your discussions when sorting out that third quarterback position?
A: We just talked about a lot of different things and where we are currently with our quarterbacks and where we want to be over the course of this season and the things we want to accomplish as a team, so we talked about a lot of things while trying to make that decision like what was best for us in 2012 and what’s going to be good for us down the line, as well.
Q: What did McLeod Bethel-Thompson show throughout the preseason?
A: I like his arm strength that shows up, he has accuracy, but his command is one thing that really got all of our attention. Going all the way back to OTAs and doing the things that we did back in April, he has some confidence and some swagger about him and you like to see that in young guy and he has some talent to go along with that. He has some things that you’d like to try to develop over time and see where he ends up going.
Q: Is there any concern there with three young guys at quarterback?
A: I think that if we get our number one where we want him to be, which I think we’re heading in that direction, we have a lot of confidence in Joe [Webb], obviously with the move that we made, so we’re pretty comfortable and confident in the guys that are playing quarterback for us.
Q: How was that process overall on Friday after you got in at 2 a.m. and you had to have the cuts done by 8 p.m.?
A: Well we sat down as a staff on Friday and went through every position and talked about the pros and cons of each position and the strengths and weaknesses, and we had already done this exercise prior to the game, we’ve been doing it throughout the entire preseason, so we had an idea of what direction to go but there were some things that happened in that Texans game that made us rethink some things. We had to talk through some of that and that’s what we did. We discussed every potential roster move and we came up with what we thought would be the final 53 that will give us the best chance to be successful.
Q: Where is Geoff Schwartz at with his recovery?
A: We need to see him practice this week. He’s missed a ton of time, as you know. Right now he’s one of the guys we expect to be up on Sunday but we need to get through some things in practice because there are some unknowns so it’s hard to answer that until we have a practice on Wednesday.
Q: What does Mark Asper give you?
A: We think he gives us some flexibility at the guard and center position. We saw some things on tape that we made us believe he would be an upgrade and give us some competition along with some depth along the offensive line. We’ll see if that turns out to be true
Q: Is DeMarcus Love going to end up having surgery?
A: He is and he’ll be out for the season. It’s about a four month recovery so we won’t get him back this season.
Q: Was it a torn labrum?
A: He did some damage to his pectoral.