We had another good day of practice. The weather cooperated. It’s always good when we can get outside and get some quality work in. It helps to have the number of guys that are working as hard as they can to come out and try to improve every single day and we’re getting that. You probably noticed there are a bunch of guys, at least some guys, that are participating in the Bill Walsh Minority Internship Program that joined us and will be joining us throughout this week. They will be at training camp as well. Two of those guys are former players of ours, Richard Angulo along with Kenechi Udeze. It’s great to have both of them around. All those guys are trying to learn and really help themselves coach at this level, but if not, to be able to go back to their respective colleges and do a good job there as well. We’re fortunate to have them around. Tomorrow we get a chance to go out and play some golf. I hope all of you will be there for the Vikings Children’s Fund fundraiser. I know that Joe [Schmit] and Tom [Pelissero] will be there so I know there will be somebody that I can beat in golf so I look forward to that. But we have a lot going on with our football team and some of the things we’re doing in the community as well. I think we’re making improvements and that’s always encouraging. We had a few guys who didn’t work today. You saw with Adrian [Peterson] we just held him out. It was a coaches’ decision purely. A few other guys are in and out. Chad Greenway is going to have a knee scope. He had a little tension in his knee and we decided we were going to do a knee scope. We’re going to have that done tomorrow. He won’t miss any training camp or anything like that. We just wanted to get it done now rather than run into a situation when we get to camp and it continue to bother him and we have some issues we’d have to deal with there. We’re going to have that done, but other than that everybody else working hard.
Q: What was bothering Chad Greenway specifically?
A: Just some tenderness in his knee. We ended up doing an MRI and saw some things in there we thought we needed to clean up and that’s what we’re going to do, have it scoped and get it done.
Q: He’ll be back in Mankato for camp?
Q: Adrian didn’t have any sort of nagging injury it was strictly a day off?
A: No, no nagging injuries. It was just a decision to give him a day off.
Q: What’s going to be the difference between mini-camp and OTAs?
A: Not a whole lot. The schedule will be a little bit different. We’ll try to treat it more like an in-season schedule where we’ll do more meetings in the morning then practice in the afternoon, but the practices itself will be similar to what we’re doing here in OTAs. It’s just the structure of the day will be a little bit different.
Q: Is John Sullivan going to have to wait until training camp to get back out on the field?
A: Yeah, he won’t participate in any of the offseason stuff that we’re doing, but we’ll have him in Mankato.
Q: How about Jacob Lacey? Do you expect him at the start of training camp?
A: We do. Barring and hiccup along the way we are expecting him to be there day one.
Q: What exactly happened to him?
A: Dislocation of the thumb. That’s it.
Q: What do you think of a guy like Kenechi Udeze going through all he has?
A: When you know the story and knowing that he has recovered from Leukemia, and I remember visiting him in the hospital and seeing what he was going through and every time I see him I’m amazed. It’s almost like seeing a walking miracle because at that time, when I was visiting him in the hospital, it was a concern whether or not he would survive much longer. To see him today healthy, moving around real well, communicating, talking it’s just an inspiration. If you’re someone that may be facing adversity and going through a tough time, you look at a guy like Udeze and you say, ‘You know what, there’s hope.’ He never gave up and continued to battle and it’s great to have him around. It’s an inspiration to our entire organization.
Q: Is Greg Jennings just absent today?
A: Yes, just absent.
Q: What were you trying to impart on Chris Cook when you spoke to him this offseason?
A: He’s in different role now and I wanted him to understand that. I wanted him to look around and just see how much the landscape has changed from his rookie year and more is going to be required of him this season from a leadership standpoint as well as production on the field, that’s obvious, but we need him to stay on the field. Sometimes the health issues you can’t avoid and sometimes some things just happen, but we just need him to do the right thing at all times and understand that there are some young guys that are now looking up to him. It’s not the reverse where he was looking up to other guys, it’s people looking up to him in the classroom and at practice as well.
Q: He’s getting his hands on a lot of balls out here. Is that a good sign for you?
A: Yeah, he’s always practiced well and done good things in practice and he’s played some good games for us as well, but just the consistency and keeping him on the field. It’s always good to see him making plays, no question about it, but now carry it over to the games and do it over the course of an entire season.
Q: Do you like where Cook is at as a person?
A: I do. With my conversations with him as a person I feel like he’s grown up a lot. I think his teammates have really encouraged him and helped him along the way. We’ve got some really good leadership on this team, but I do like where he is. Still, it’s something that he knows we have to always hold one another accountable and we’ll continue to do that you never want to take anything for granted.
Q: What kind of progress has Greg Jennings been making?
A: He’s making very good progress. He had a personal issue, that’s why he’s not here today and won’t be here this week. He’ll be here next week for the mandatory minicamp, but he’s been doing very well for us providing great leadership in the classroom and his work ethic on the field as well is helping our young receivers. He’s good to have around and beyond his talent his leadership really sticks out.
Q: How about Jared Allen? How is he progressing as a football player and a person?
A: Is he coming up behind me? I’m going tell them this story. I want you all to hear this. When I spoke about accountability, this is an example right here. He calls me, maybe a month ago now, and he says, ‘Coach, count on me this season to be even a better leader than I have been in the past.’ That was music to Coach Frazier’s ears. It was unsolicited and he calls me out of the blue and tells me that. That’s what you need. You need your great players to be great leaders if you want to have a chance to change your culture and also win games. For him to call me and say he wants to do even better than I’ve done before, that’s inspiring. You need players like that. You need your great players to see your vision for the team and for Jared and Adrian and other guys to buy in to what we’re trying to get done, it gives you a chance to have a chance in a very, very tough league to win games in so I appreciate guys like Jared.
Q: What sort of timeline are you hoping for with Greg Childs?
A: You’d like to get him for training camp. We’ll get down to Mankato and I have my fingers crossed. Hopefully it will happen. We’re waiting on Eric Sugarman and our medical staff to give us the green light, but that would be my hope. We’ll see what happens, I’m not sure what direction it will go.
Q: What do you like and what don’t you like after having pretty much the whole team here for a few weeks now?
A: The good thing about this time of the year, you can gauge where you are from a condition standpoint and how engaged they are mentality so you get a feel for it, but until you get those pads on down in Mankato, you really don’t know quite what you have. What I do know is that our guys are really hungry and they want to succeed, as evident by the attendance that we’ve had and how hard they’re working. Everything we’re asking them to do, they’re trying to get it done from the tempo at practice, the effort that we’re demanding of them and their attention in the meetings, so they’re working. Now it’s a matter of if we’re talented enough to get it done, but it won’t be because of a lack of work.
Q: What impression have you gotten from Christian Ponder throughout the offseason program?
A: I think he’s made tremendous strides from a leadership standpoint, just watching around the huddle, the command that he’s displaying. I think he has the physical ability. There’s no doubt in my mind about that, but being able to do the things from the neck up that a quarterback has to do, I’m seeing a maturation in that area and that’s what we need. We need that type of leadership for our football team and he’s showing some of that. We just have to keep seeing that over the course of the next few months.