WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st, 2013
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Good morning. We had a good walk through this morning. Guys were really into it. It’s a little different format than what they had been accustomed to at Mankato and even coming back last week. Everything is a little bit different with our format. We’re treating it this week more like what we would do if we were preparing for a regular season game just to introduce our guys to the way we do things from a schedule standpoint so it’s a lot different for the young guys. Of course the veterans are familiar with it, but it’s a different routine than what they’ve been accustomed to these last couple of weeks. Practice wise, the only guys that won’t be practicing at this point are Jerome Felton, Shariff, everything went fine with the work that he had done and he should be back with us for sure by that opening ball game. Tyler Holmes sprained his ankle the other day so we’re going to hold him out of practice. Jarius, we’re going to give him one more day as well and hope to have him back tomorrow, but other than that, everyone else should be working. Looking forward to getting into a game mode, a regular season game mode at practice.
Q: What have you seen from Greg Jennings?
A: He’s providing us with great leadership in the classroom as well as on the field and his work ethic is just like we thought it would be, outstanding. His production will be there, we’re sure of that. He’s been everything we had hoped for and looking forward to watching him play and perform for us. He’s been terrific.
Q: What stood out to you about that first unit offense in the Buffalo game?
A: I was really pleased with their production overall. Some of the things that Buffalo was doing is some of the things that we’re going to see in the season. For them to get the number of three-and-outs, I think our defense had five series and maybe three, three-and-outs in that five series and one field goal I thought they did a good job and it was good for us because we were able to be in a situation where they got a couple first downs in one of those series and marched down to get a field goal so it made us get in some different situations that we need to be good at. One being when they got to their maroon zone, what we call outside the 20, we held them to the field goal, that was good to see as well. Then to come up with the big turnover in that situation and put our offense on those short fields is one of the things we had emphasized as well. I was pleased with the different situations they were put in then how they responded so I was encouraged.
Q: With the game being so up tempo, what was the biggest challenge of keeping the guys from losing their breath?
A: I think the fact that we had worked with our offense on some of that probably helped our defense, but it was good to get it on the road in a lot of situations where you had to not only run to the spot but now you have to tackle, get back up and get lined up and get the defensive calls as well. So to see our guys function as well as they did, that was good to see out of our first group.
Q: What was your impression of Xavier Rhodes?
A: Kind of up and down. He did some good things there but there were some other things that when we looked at the tape and he looked at it as well, that he’ll need to get better on as we approach the regular season. That was his first chance to get some live action, to get a feel of the speed of the game in a game situation so there were some good things but there were definitely some things he’ll have to work on to get better but he’ll get that chance this week against a very good offense in San Francisco and on the road again.
Q: With putting Desmond Bishop at the number one, how will that work in the nickel with him and Erin Henderson?
A: We just make a decision. We don’t necessarily plan on taking Erin off the field but there are times where Desmond could be playing at the outside linebacker spot as well. We’ve explained to our players what the plan is and they know that we want to get some views of Desmond with the first group; they understand that, they understand why. So no spite against them, we need to be able to evaluate Desmond along with some other guys. A lot of guys we need to evaluate here in this ball game this week as well as we’re trying to make some decisions regarding our roster.
Q: Is there ever a point of concern for you when the offense is not clicking?
A: Yes. There are certain goals in every ball game that we’d like to see us reach in those games and when it doesn’t happen you have to go back and look and try to figure out why and if that reason is a reason beyond physical ability, then you get a little bit concerned. If we’re not functioning, I want it to be because someone is way better than us, not because of things we’re not doing right. So yes, that would be some reason for concern if we don’t do some of the things that we set out to get accomplished in this ball game or any ball game if we don’t get it done.
Q: Is Matt Kalil going to play in the game this Sunday?
A: We do expect Matt to play in this ball game. He’s going to practice today so we’ll se how he does in practice but we don’t anticipate him not playing. Offensive line, our first group, they did some good things in that ball game but there are some things that we’ll could get better at, especially when we’re going to be on the road like we are in the opening game of the season. From a communication standpoint that was probably the one area that I felt like we could’ve done a lot better. Communicating some of the things that we saw, and making sure that we execute some of the things we have to get done whether it be snapping the ball back to the quarterback or identifying who the Mike linebacker is in certain fronts and those are the things we will get better at and should be better at this next week.
Q: What have you seen leadership-wise and progression-wise with Kyle Rudolph?
A: He’s had a great camp. He’s been terrific through this offseason and I really like the confidence he’s playing with and practicing with. He’s going to be a good player for us this season without question. Some of the things that happened in that Pro Bowl I really believe increased his confidence and him knowing that “I can play with the best” has really showed up in practices. He’s gotten better as a blocker, I’ve seen that in training camp and he’s become more assertive from a vocal standpoint. He’s still not a loud guy who’s going to come in and say “hey, let’s go do it this way or that way” but that’s coming, he’s growing in that role as a leader. That’s going to take a little bit of time but you can see as he’s gaining the experience, he’s growing in that area as well.
Q: Has the progression of Bobby Felder helped with the special teams as well?
A: Yes. This will be a big week for Bobby. He’s going to get some extended snaps in the nickel situations as well as special teams. He did some good things in the Buffalo game; those returns were very good, he was good in covering kicks as well, so we need to get some views of him this week and next week and try to see where he is.
Q: What was it about him that made you guys want to keep him around?
A: He’s a pretty instinctive guy. He can kind of feel things and it doesn’t have to be just like you drew it up on the board because rarely does it happen that way. Once people start moving around on the football field you need some guys who can have the instincts to make plays and recognize things as they occur and he’s one of those guys. He’s a very instinctive player who has very good awareness when it comes to football so that was one of the things that struck us when he was on the scout team. He did a good job for us then so we were anxious to see how he would play once we got him into some game situations.