SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2013
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
We had a chance to go back and look at the tape with our coaches, with our players. There were some good things that happened in that ball game, one in particular was being able to play a lot of people and get a chance to evaluate players as we are trying to determine which guys are going to be the right guys to be a part of our final 53. That was one of the pluses from the game. Found a lot of different people at different positions watching them on special teams, watching them on offense and defense and seeing if they are going to be the type of players that we want to eventually keep on our team, that we think can help us to have success next season. Some of the things we are concerned about, the execution wasn’t as good as we needed to be across the board and that is one of the good things about this time of the year being in training camp, being in the preseason you get a chance to continue to work towards getting better at your execution and that is something we definitely will have to get better at. The effort was very good, the fact that we only had one penalty in an opening preseason game, that was very, very encouraging. We are always talking to our players about playing smart football, being a tough football team, being a disciplined football team so to come away with that type of effort, to be as good as we were when it comes to penalties, if we can clean up some things in the red zone, get a little bit better on third down and do a better job of executing as a whole, we think we are going to be alright. We have got to continue to give guys opportunities to play but this next week we are going to ramp up the reps for our number ones and give them more opportunities, because you have got to be able to now turn our attention to getting those guys ready for game time situations. They will get more playing time this week. I think they are all looking forward to that as well.
Q: Who stood out to you on Friday night?
A: There were a number of guys, but it’s hard to overlook Cordarrelle Patterson. That opening kickoff was a great way to start a game, start a preseason, so that was encouraging. He had a couple of nice catches as well. Stephen Burton did some good things at the wide receiver position, the run by Zach Line, that was pretty impressive as well. There were a couple of defenders, I thought some of the things that our early draft picks did was a plus. I thought Michael Mauti did a good job, (Gerald) Hodges when he got in there. We had a lot of guys who did some good things, just as a whole we need to just execute a little bit better. Overall there were some good individual performances.
Q: Injury wise where are you guys at?
A: We are not in bad shape. We will probably have one guy that we are going to have to do tests on, came in a little bit sore today, Sharrif (Floyd) was a little bit more sore than we thought he would be. So we are going to go ahead and get an MRI today with him. Jacob Lacey, we didn’t dress him in the ball game, we are going to end up doing a scope on his knee. Other than that everybody else came out pretty good. Nothing really serious, nothing that we are overly concerned about. I think we are pretty good in that department other than Sharrif getting an MRI and what we are going to do with Jacob.
Q: That was on Sharrif’s left knee?
A: Yeah, I think it was left knee.
Q: What’s your level of concern there?
A: Not overly concerned by everything I have been told, it’s just sore so we want to err on the side of caution. He fell on the knee, he was pretty sore this morning. The fact that he sorer than he was yesterday made us decide that we need to make sure there is nothing else going on there. Other than the fact that he is sore we are not overly concerned
Q: How are the players, like Xavier Rhodes, who are dealing with hamstring injuries, doing with their injuries?
A: Xavier is doing better. He is going to try and do some work today. A.J. (Jefferson) is going to try and get some work today. We are probably going to hold Christian Ballard out. We pulled him from the game. He is a little bit sore with his groin. So we are probably going to hold him out from practice today. We had an illness with one of our young guys Brandon Bishop. He is a little sick. But other than that, Desmond Bishop is going to practice today, and everyone else is in the mix, with the exception of Sherrif, along with Jacob (Lacey). We will see how Brandon Bishop feels later this afternoon.
Q: With Jacob Lacey’s knee injury, what is the timetable with returning from an injury like that look like?
A: Typically it is a two to four week deal when you do a scope on a guy, so somewhere in that range.
Q: Is it cartilage, or is it a ligament tear?
A: I am not certain, but the doctors are going to go in and take a look.
Q: When it comes to guys who are on the bubble of making the roster, how important are preseason games versus OTA’s and practices in determining if they make the final roster cuts?
A: It is a combination. We have been watching them now since April 22nd. So it is a combination of what they did in the offseason program along with what they do here in training camp, and then what they do in ballgames. You are trying to put all of that data together to make a determination of whether this guy deserves to be on your final 53 man roster. We still have a lot of time and a lot more reps to get done before we make a decision on anybody. You want to have a broad perspective on it at this time of year. There are guys who did not play as well on Friday night who will get another chance in this ballgame coming up on Friday. They will get a chance to improve and play better. Other guys who play well, we will see them have a chance to be consistently good. They are either going to improve or plateau. There is a lot more football to be played as we are trying to make the decisions about what guys should be where.
Q: On Zach Line’s touchdown, Matt Asiata had a great block picking up the blitz. When you are putting together a roster, how much do you put into account players like Matt when filling out a roster?
A: He was actually carrying out his responsibility of protection that called for him to pick up a blitzing linebacker, and that is one of the attributes that has helped Matt make our team. The fact that he is a very good special teams player, he can run the ball, but also he is very sound in protection as well helps him and gives him a leg up on other guys who are vying for the third running back spot on our roster. His experience along with other things in our offense, and his ability to go out and execute his assignments helps him. Now, we are trying to create some competition for that third spot, but Matt has the advantage because of his experience and he knows exactly what we are trying to get done.
Q: What does a guy like fullback Zach Line have to do to make the Vikings final roster?
A: He has to show that he is capable to take on linebackers, and being able to pick up guys in protection, but the blocking aspect is as critical for our fullback as anything. Now the catch and run he made on Friday night is important too. But we ask our fullbacks to be guys who can move people and he will have to show that in this preseason. He needs to show that he can take on a blocker in the hole and move him, whether it be a linebacker or a defensive end that he will either cut or block high. His blocking will be a factor as well.
Q: Zach made guys miss running down the sidelines, is it fun to watch a guy like Zach?
A: Oh yeah, it was a very good run, great block by Stephen Burton. That desire he had to get in the end zone. It looked like he was going to get tackled or knocked out of bounds, and he found a way to get into the end zone, and he had those same characteristics when he was playing in college. He was a good runner, and a good guy after the catch, and he displayed some of that ability to run with the football after the catch, which is always good to see. It is always good when you can score.
Q: Have you decided if you’re going to keep five or six receivers?
A: We’re undecided. You know it’s so early now, we need to get some more games, some more stats, and see if there’s anyone deserving of being the fifth wide receiver or sixth wide receiver on our roster. I think it’s too early to say that that guy is here. We have some more work to do before we can determine that.
Q: Any weight given to the fact that Joe has played quarterback, or is he strictly evaluated as a receiver?
A: Yeah, he’s mainly evaluated as a receiver and we’ll see how he comes along. He had a couple nice catches on Friday night. We’ve just got to keep putting him out there and giving him opportunities both here at practice and in games, but he’s been evaluated as a wide receiver.
Q: Bobby Felder had an up and down game, how would you evaluate his performance?
A: He got his hands on a couple of balls, the one negative was the deep ball; he was in great position, wasn’t able to make a play but he was active, around the ball a lot and we’ll see how he does over this next week. It was good to see him involved in plays.
Q: Certain amount of snaps or series in mind for the first teamers?
A: Yeah we do, we’re probably going to play into that second quarter, that’s the goal. We have a number of snaps that we’re going to talk about that we’ve talked about as a staff and we’ll divulge that to them later in the week, but they do anticipate you know having to go into the second quarter so we’ll see how it goes. That’s based on a number of snaps as well.
Q: Would Adrian Peterson be included in that or do you have a different plan for him?
A: He’s always in the conversation, we’ll see where it goes with him but he’s always in the conversation when we’re talking about our offense.
Q: Are you a fan of four preseason games to look at players or do you think it could be pressed down to three or two?
A: Sometimes when I get asked those hypotheticals in my opinion regarding league manners, it just, my opinion really doesn’t matter so I don’t care to give my opinion. I don’t think the league is going to call me and ask me should we have four or two or, you know, whatever. I don’t have an opinion. I’m going to do what they tell me to do, whatever they tell me to do.
Q: Would it take away from your evaluation process if it was reduced from four to fewer games?
A: We’re going to evaluate guys based on what the parameters will allow us to do. Just like when the new CBA came out and we went from being able to have two practices a day to one practice a day. You have four hours when you can get your practices in between the two that we get, the walk-through and the afternoon, you adjust. So whatever that is, whatever that comes down from the league office, we’re going to adjust and we’ll evaluate our players based on whatever the prescribed rules are and if that comes into formation of what you just mentioned, then we’ll do evaluations that way. But whatever happens, we’ll have to adjust.