As the Winter Park locker room is essentially shut down until players have to report to Mankato at the end of the month for training camp, most of the players are taking July to charge their batteries for the six-day work weeks that are coming.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier isn’t taking any time off before he starts putting in 100-hour work weeks during the regular season. Frazier is joining other coaches in a USO tour in the Persian Gulf.
Frazier is joining coaches-turned-broadcasters Bill Cowher and Eric Mangini, but Frazier is the only active head coach who has a job to get back to immediately that will require essentially all of his free time between August and January.
Frazier told the Associated PressMonday as the group prepared to depart for the Persian Gulf that “it seemed like a small thing to do” in terms of giving of his rare down time to help lift the spirits of our fighting men and women in the Middle East.
Frazier is the only current head coach making the trip, but he is far from the first. In previous years, Tom Coughlin, John Fox, John Harbaugh, Gary Kubiak, Marvin Lewis, Andy Reid and Ken Whisenhunt have been part of the NFL-USO Coaches Tour.
While Frazier will miss out on his anticipated down time to rest and relax before the rigors of the 2012 season begin, he said being part of the tour for the troops, especially as it coincides with the U.S. Independence Day on Wednesday, not only makes sense, but puts a lot of our day-to-day headaches in a more realistic context.
“It just puts in perspective that there’s nothing you should ever complain about,” Frazier said.
On Monday, Viking Rhett Ellison conducted a youth football camp in Houston as part of the 2012 NFL Youth Fund Player & Camp Grant Recipients. The NFL pledged $600,000 to 214 players and coaches for youth camps throughout the county. Since its inception in 1998, the NFL has provided $4.3 million for youth camps that annually provide football instruction to more than 55,000 summer campers. The camps have run throughout the spring and summer. Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley will host a camp July 13 in Thompson, Ga., where he was a high school standout. Several former Vikings also had or will have camps, including E.J. Henderson (Minneapolis, June 19), Anthony Herrera (Naples, Fla., June 22), Artis Hicks (Jackson, Tenn., June 5), Madieu Williams (College Park, Md., April 28) and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Newport News, Va., July 13).
On Monday night, Fox Sports North debuted its special on the making of the 2012 Vikings Cheerleaders calendar.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.