Below you will find quotes from Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier from Monday, October 15, 2012.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Good afternoon. We came out of the game pretty good injury-wise. There was no one on that injury report that was new which is encouraging. After taking a look at the tape and having a chance to go through it with our coaches, we definitely had some opportunities early in that game to really alter the approach of our opponent. But we didn’t capitalize on some early opportunities in that first quarter and it ended up coming back to haunt us later on. Our guys fought throughout, still put ourselves in a position to have a chance in the fourth quarter but we squandered some golden opportunities early in the game to create a scenario that would have really been much more of a positive for us from a points standpoint in a way we were doing some things as a team early on. Got to be able to bounce back and that’s where we are now.
Q: Percy Harvin came out of the game a few times, was that all due to the hamstring?
A: He didn’t really say anything about the hamstring, just took a couple of hits and had a little soreness but he bounced back. He finished, did everything, finished strong.
Q: Christian Ponder was doing well with accuracy and low turnovers, do you have any concerns with those issues popping up on Sunday?
A: Well, you always get concerned with turnovers. It’s hard to win, especially on the road, when you turn the ball over. We had some turnovers yesterday that really affected us. But he’s done a good job in protecting the football and in the games that we’ve had success, we’ve done a good job at not turning the ball over. We’ll have to make sure we get back to that.
Q: Do you look at that as a young quarterback still learning?
A: No doubt about it. He is in his second season, there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, we know that. This is part of the process with him, part of the evolution of an NFL starter. As we grow as a team he’ll grow, but things like what happened yesterday could happen as he continues to gain more experience.
Q: When you look at the early red zone opportunities, do you need to take a couple shots into the end zone?
A: We did some things that we thought would give us the best chance to be successful. We go through our red zone study each week and we put together some plays that we think will help us get the results that we want. It didn’t happen yesterday. We’ll continue to do the things we have to do to try to improve but you can always come back and say “maybe you should have done this, should have done that.” We thought we had a good plan. They did a good job on defense of keeping us out of the end zone.
Q: Did the defense take a step back, they didn’t seem as physical as usual?
A: I don’t know if we took a step back. I think some of the things they did with that quarterback definitely made a difference in how we played. Their running back was averaging I think almost 100 yards a game rushing, like 98 yards a game rushing; I think he finished with 46 yards rushing. But the quarterback had 138 yards rushing, you don’t see that every day. So, no I don’t think we took a step back at all. I think we played a quarterback that was a little bit different than most that we see and he was very effective against us on Sunday, particularly on that last run for 76 yards.
Q: How concerned were you with Alfred Morris going in there?
A: We were very concerned with him going into the ball game. He had some good games and he was one of the people we identified that we needed to do a good job against. We did a good job but as you mentioned, they were able to get some plays behind our linebackers at times. It wasn’t just our linebackers that were responsible for some of those in-cutting routes that were behind them, part of it is what we’re doing secondary-wise as well. A combination of the two created some lanes in our defense and the style of offense that they ran, you play a lot more zone than you might want to because you need to have eyes on where the quarterback is. It did create some issues but we were definitely keying on Alfred for sure, he’s a good back.
Q: What did you assess went wrong in the red zone?
A: We didn’t execute as well and we felt like, from a staff standpoint, maybe we could do a couple things that might help us in that situation if we get in that situation again or we’re 1st and 10 from the 10, we might approach it a little bit different after the turnover when we got down, I think we were first down and 10 from the 15 after a completion. There were some things that we might do a little bit different in our approach and our execution will need to be a little bit better as well.
Q: Will that be a play calling change?
A: When that happens, when you get thwarted like we did in the red zone, you look at everything. What we’re calling, the plays that we’re running, how we’re running those plays. We really stress not kicking field goals and trying to get touchdowns, even if we get one touchdown in one of those three situations, it’s probably going to affect the way they’re going to call the game on the other side at that point. But it didn’t happen, so yes, we’re going to go through it with a fine toothed comb on what we could have better.
Q: Of those three trips, was there one that was especially painful that you didn’t score on?
A: When we got the turnover from Antoine (Winfield), the emotion on our bench, it was like, okay this is it. We were getting ready to really put the pedal to the metal here. When we came away with a field goal, and I know how we are on defense, after that turnover, when you hold a team to a field goal in plus territory, it’s like a win. I would imagine, from their standpoint, it reversed. Instead of us getting inflated, they were the group that got inflated from being able to hold us to a field goal. That one, because of the emotion from our team and our bench and everybody being involved, that was the one that I really wanted to see us get in the end zone.
Q: Did they do something with Kyle Rudolph to take him away in the red zone? Do you wish Christian would have taken a shot with Kyle?
A: You know, later on in the game we did. We came back to him and we did some things and they were rallying around Kyle like most teams do in the red area with us, but we had some plays that we thought were going to be effective. They played good defense. The play-action that we tried to hit Devin (Aromashodu) on, they did a good job of taking him away. We tried to bluff them a little bit with some of the runs that we’ve had with Percy that have been successful. They stayed pat. They did a good job on defense. We thought we had some good things in play but they were pretty disciplined in what they were doing.
Q: Percy took some punishment yesterday. Are there any things you can do to protect him more?
A: Whether we can protect him or not, the way he plays, he plays as you know, at 100 miles per hour. If you give it to him two times in a game, those two times, they are going to be full-tilt. That’s how he plays and that’s what you appreciate about him and we’ll always be conscious of how we’re using him and not trying to overuse him but when you have a talent such as his, you want to utilize his abilities. There’s no question about it, but we are mindful of his physique and what we’re asking him to do. We’ll do the best we can to preserve him, but not at the expense of our trying to win and trying to do the right things by him. He’s a very, very valuable piece to our team and it shows up every Sunday but we are mindful of some of the hits that he does take.
Q: Are there certain players you can’t protect? Can you only go so far with him because he doesn’t want to be taken off the field?
A: We’re going to always try to do what’s best for the team and what’s best for our team is to have Percy on the field. That’s obvious. His style of play is not going to change, so we’re going to utilize his talents to the fullest. We’ll be conscious of how we use him when we do have him on the field but to say we’re going to use him less or use him in different ways, I can’t stand here today and say that’s going to be the case. We all know that injuries are part of our game. We’re going to try to protect him as much as we can but at the same time, the way he plays, his style of play, and it’s no different for a lot of our guys, they’re going to play 100 miles per hour and play full-tilt. That’s what keeps you from getting injured at times rather than trying to play to not get injured.
Q: Are you going to open up the right guard position to competition?
A: We wanted to be able to take a look at Geoff (Schwartz) yesterday and get him some game action and yesterday allowed us to do that and we want to be able to do it periodically. We felt like that was a good game to do it and it worked out pretty good to get him, I think he had about 11 snaps, so we got some good game-action tape that we couldn’t get in the preseason to evaluate him and we’ll see where it goes from there.
Q: Is that unusual to do in the middle of a season?
A: I don’t know who I would compare it to but I know from our standpoint what the thinking was when we did it and we thought it would be a good thing to do. I think it will help us down the road.
Q: How do you think he did?
A: In those plays, I thought he did a good job, good enough to where we feel comfortable if something were to happen, we could get him in there, but there are some other things we want to be able to see from him but we’ll continue to evaluate him as we go forward.
Q: Will you try to get more reps for him?
A: I don’t know if we’ll necessarily try to get more but we’ll definitely keep giving him a few reps considering that he didn’t play last season, didn’t play at all in training camp and now we’re getting a chance to take a look at him.
Q: Do you see defenses almost challenging you to beat them with the deep ball?
A: I don’t know if it’s so much because of Percy, as a combination of Percy and Adrian. What we do between the two of them, we see a lot more single-high (coverage) than some teams may or safeties creeping into the box and because of what we’re doing in the run game and how we utilize Percy underneath, but it does make you want to take some shots down the field and we had some plays called yesterday where we were able to get some three level routes where you saw Kyle catch a deep ‘seven’ route behind a linebacker or we tried a deep ball to Devin, we got a PI (Pass Interference) when that happened. We have some things in place, now it’s a matter of can we hit some of those big plays down the field. But, as people continue to creep to the line of scrimmage, you definitely want to be able to take some shots down the field.
Q: What’s the next step for consistency to get downfield?
A: No, you want to keep doing it, and as long as people are going to crowd the line of scrimmage, you got to hit a couple of those plays. We had a chance for that in the Detroit game. We had a chance for it yesterday as well. We saw it against Tennessee where Percy got behind a defensive back. So, we’ll keep taking shots as people continue to crowd the line of scrimmage and we’ve just got to convert when we do.
Q: What’s led to that? Is it the receivers not being able to get separation or Christian being a little reluctant to let it go?
A: No, he’ll put it out there if the coverage will allow him to throw it. There are times that there coverage is good enough. We had a couple with Michael Jenkins late in the game where we took some shots down the sideline and they had it covered pretty well. He threw the ball out of bounds, which was the right thing to do. But it depends a little bit on the coverage. If they’ve got good coverage, the ball may not go down the field. It may go to a checkdown or it may go to the sideline or it may go out of bounds. We’ll continue to take shots when they’re available.
Q: Do you expect Jerome Simpson to be able to play this week?
A: I just talked with him a few minutes ago and he feels like he’s going to be ready to go. Told me to just watch the tape and that will prove it. So, I’m looking forward to how he progresses as the week goes on.
Q: He sounded surprised yesterday to be inactive. What was that conversation like before the game?
A: Actually, I talked to him on Saturday about what I was thinking at the time. So, he kind of had an idea of where I was headed, but in his heart he wants to play. He’s a competitor, which is what you appreciate about him. He wanted to be able to be out there. But we’ll see how it goes this week. He’s a competitor. He wants to play. He wants to help our team win and we’ll evaluate it this week.
Q: Do you think Jerome Simpson can be a long-term solution as a deep threat?
A: Well, you’re right, we haven’t seen much of him. He played the one game after suspension, he was banged up a week ago and we didn’t dress him yesterday. So, we’ve had limited exposure to him. We’ve got some time, and hopefully he’s ready to go this week. I could give you a better answer as we get further into the year and we’ve had more exposure with him. We’ve just had limited opportunities to this point.
Q: How did you think Everson Griffen held up on Sunday?
A: I thought he did a great job. We talked to him after the ballgame and so courageous on his part to be out there playing, and playing as well as he did. You watch the tape and he played hard. He left everything he had on the field; just a great example for our players and everybody in our organization, the tremendous sacrifice on his part. Very, very courageous, very courageous. He did a great job.
Q: Will he have to miss anymore time this week?
A: Yeah, I was told that the funeral is scheduled for Saturday. So, arrangements are being made. So, we’ll see what that does schedule-wise.