Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Good morning guys. Some of you may have gotten that information regarding Cordarrelle Patterson being named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, which is quite an honor. He’s gotten off to a terrific start as a kickoff return guy and hopefully he’ll continue that even this weekend down in Dallas. Injury wise we’ve got a few guys who probably won’t participate. Most of you may be familiar with Matt Asiata and what he’s facing with the death of his father, he’ll be absent today. We’re going to hold Chris Cook, Rhett Ellison and Jamarca Sanford out with some injuries that they’re dealing with and hopefully we’ll get them back either tomorrow or the next day. So other than that everybody else will be working. Regarding our starting quarterback, got some things that I want to go through. I have an idea of what direction we’re going to go and how we’re going to practice but not in the frame of mind where I want divulge that at this point. Our team knows and I’m sure it’ll get out there at some point, but I don’t want to publicly talk about who is our starting quarterback. Other than that we’ve got to figure out a way to get win on the road in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. Got to get a win, need to get a win, need to play well on the road.
Q: Do you have a plan to publicly talk about the starting quarterback later in the week?
Q: When would that be?
A: Probably Friday.
Q: Are you trying to use the element of surprise and that’s why you don’t want to reveal it?
A: I hope it makes a difference. I don’t know if it will. Everybody comes in saying we’ve got to stop (Adrian Peterson) so it doesn’t always make a difference, but not necessary that I have to divulge anything on Wednesday.
Q: Did you feel burned by that earlier?
A: Not so much.
Q: Have you already made the decision in your mind?
A: Yes, I do have an idea of what direction we are going, yes.
Q: Are both Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman healthy? Or will that play a role in the decision?
A: Josh has been cleared, which is a good thing, and we’re going to work him this week and see how he does in the actual practices. But he has been cleared, so that’s the good news.
Q: How long until Cordarrelle can be Offensive Player of the Week?
A: I know, he said the same thing. We’re continuously bringing him on offense and we’re going to have some things for him this week as well, but we’ll just keep bringing him along. He’s done a good whenever he’s been out on the field on offense, had some nice plays in the game on Sunday night. Just got to keep bringing him along.
Q: What has been in his way in terms of taking on the offense?
A: Part of it is how well Jerome (Simpson) has played at the same position. You can see at times we’ve already begun to try and get both on the field at the same time, but that requires a different learning when you when you put them at different positions. They are both guys that play the X receiver position for us in our offense and Jerome has played very well for us this season and that has been part of it.
Q: What is it about his skillset that makes him such a dynamic threat on special teams?
A: When you watch some of his runs, he’s a big receiver, but he’s more of a slight guy when you look at him frame wise. He breaks tackles, he’s a physical runner and his vision is unparalleled. He does a great job of being able to see things that are not visible to most. He can see things coming from his left, his right, and he’s making some cuts that are not easy to make. He has great peripheral vision and it shows when he runs with some of those cutbacks that he makes against guys that are pretty fast that are covering kicks.
Q: Joe Webb and Jarius Wright have taken more reps than Cordarrelle. Is that just what you are asking those guys to do?
A: That’s part of it, what they’re required to do and they play different positions but yes some of the things we ask that position to do versus an X receiver.
Q: What are your expectations of the quarterback at this point?
A: That our quarterback will do a good job of making decisions under center, handling the football, leading our team. We need leadership at that position but really being like a captain out there on the field and operating our offense efficiently and helping us to get first downs, helping us to score touchdowns in the redzone, all of the things that you would ask a quarterback to do. The leadership and the consistency is what you’re looking for.
Q: To get that leadership and consistency you just have to stick with one guy, right?
A: You are exactly right, yes.
Q: Are you making the decision this week with the idea that this player will take it and go for the long haul?
A: Want to concentrate on this Dallas game and have success. We need to have success in the worst way and we need our quarterback to play well for us, so the concentration is more about this Dallas Cowboys game.
Q: How big of a setback was it for Josh with the time that he had to spend away?
A: It definitely makes a difference when you come in as late as he did and then to have to miss the amount of time that he missed last week as you’re trying to develop him and help him to learn our offense, it definitely sets him back a little bit. You really can’t do anything about that, we’re working as hard as we can this week to get him back up to speed and see where he is from a physical and mental standpoint.
Q: But you must feel comfortable with where he is since he’s one of the two options?
A: I do. We’ve just got to bring him along. We’re back this week with a new gameplan, new opponent, so there will be different material that will be introduced and we’ll see how he does as the week go on.
Q: When a guy has a concussion do you have to take him out of the classroom before he passes the tests?
A: In Josh’s case we did have to take him away from that environment as he was going through the NFL protocols, so yes, he’s not able to sit in the meetings and it’s not good for him to even do that with what he’s dealing with.
Q: Is that typical?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Is there anything you can do to affect change or rally your team? Or do you stick with what you know
A: We’re trying to create a mindset that has to come from within because it’s not like it’s the beginning of a new regime and we have a bunch of veterans on our team that are familiar with how we do things so you really have to approach them at where they are and try and present to them where we are as a team and what has to change and then they have to buy into some of the things you are talking about that need to change and accept that and that’s the only way that I know that you can create change with the familiarity that we all have with one another. We pointed out some things and now they have to accept that, buy into it, and then we need to get it done. We need to affectively change the course of our season.
Q: Are you worried about not having Chris Cook or Jamarca Sanford for Sunday?
A: With defensive backs when you have muscle issues it’s always a concern because we need them. I’m hoping they’ll get through this, but muscles in defensive backs or receivers it’s always a concern.
Q: What sort of challenges does the depth of Dallas’ weapons present to the secondary?
A: They got a very good quarterback, good offensive line and those receivers are good receivers. Dez Bryant is having terrific season, Jason Witten has been an All-Pro for a number of years in our league and their young receiver, Williams from Baylor, he’s really come along as well and they have a good slot receiver. They have some weapons and we’ll have to contend with them and our guys will have to stand up because we need them. We need them to play well against a team that can throw the ball extremely well and protect as well.
Q: When the trade deadline came and went, what were your feelings about Jared Allen still being here? Were you worried about it?
A: I wasn’t worried about it. We have so many things that we’re dealing with so I didn’t think about it a whole lot. I expected him to be here. People are telling me different things that were out there, but I never thought he wouldn’t be here.
Q: Do any of those trade talks fall on your plate or are you just left alone to focus on this week until it gets to the point where they need to talk to you?
A: Yeah, if there are conversations going on, I don’t know about them unless it gets to a point where it gets very serious.
Q: Were the Vikings very active at the trade deadline that you’re aware of?
A: Not that I’m aware of, no.
Q: What are your guidelines on sideline behavior whenever a player loses his temper?
A: You have guys that are competitive, they’re passionate about what they do and they’re very competitive, so when things aren’t going right sometimes they want to voice their opinions. You have to be able to handle it and handle it the right way. We’d rather, for our guys, communicate in a fashion where we can talk back and forth as opposed to having an outburst on the sideline that can be a distraction for our team, but I do understand how passionate our players are and how much they want to win, but we’d rather handle that a different way, in our case.
Q: Regardless of what a guy is saying, how does it impact a game when communication is disrupted?
A: I think sometimes it depends on who it is. Who is that guy? Is it the quarterback, a defensive lineman? Who is the person? Is he your star player? Some of it depends on who is that person and every situation is different when it comes up. Depending on who it is, some of the teammates they could care less about what that guy is saying or how he is reacting. Other guys, depending on who it is, it makes a difference depending on who that guy is, what he says, how he’s doing it. It could affect the ball game, could affect your team.
Q: The number of points scored across the league keeps going up and up. Is that a good strategy, specifically either for you or other teams, knowing that a certain amount of points are needed to win a game?
A: Without question. You have an idea going in. You probably are going to need to score at least 24 points, on average, to win a game. At least probably a year ago that’s the case. Seems like its rising, but it’s an offensive league, it’s set up that way. People like to see points scored, although defensive coaches don’t, but that’s where we are and it definitely sells well for our league. You have to try to find a way to slow those offensives down, but you do go into it with a mindset of you have to score X number of points and on defense you have to hold a team to X number of points to have a chance, but that number is rising.
Q: Are you pleased with the work of your coordinators?
A: I think our coordinators have worked as hard as they can to try to put our players in the best position to succeed. When you are where we are record-wise, I don’t think anybody could be satisfied with what we’ve done, including myself. We have a lot of work to do as coaches and players. Nobody can be satisfied with where we are right now.
Q: Have you sat down with Jared Allen today or talked to him about all of the trade rumors that were out there?
A: We talked this morning. We just shared conversation about all the talk and he reinforced what I already knew, that he was happy that he’s here in Minnesota and he’d like to finish his career in Minnesota and he couldn’t control the rumors and things that were being said and understood that. But he’s thrilled to be here.
Q: That’s what he said, he wanted to finish his career in Minnesota?