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Frazier has ‘no reservations’ with young team
Leslie Frazier (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
Posted Aug 15, 2012
The Vikings are expected to be one of the youngest teams in the league, but head coach Leslie Frazier likes what he has seen out of them as training camp comes to a close.
Leslie Frazier is tasked with getting what could be the NFL’s youngest team ready to compete in what could the league’s toughest division.
Despite that challenging task and oddsmakers who almost universally have the Vikings finishing last in the NFC North, the
head coach likes what his team accomplished over the 15 practices of training camp that will be coming to a close Wednesday afternoon.
The Vikings entered camp with 41 new players, including 27 rookies (10 draft picks) and five first-year players.
“This is our roster. This is the group that we made a decision that this is the direction we’re going to go,” Frazier said of the youth on the team. “You try to bring that team along and develop those guys along the way, especially when you have so many that could potentially start for you and could really have an impact on your team.
“But no reservations. I think we’re doing the right thing. It’s just a matter of how soon it all comes together and what parts we have to fill along the way. I know (general manager Rick Spielman) and his staff have to continue to keep their eyes on the waiver wire and see what’s out there and see what other ways we can continue to make our team better.”
But, for now, more than 40 percent of the 90-man roster is new to the Vikings, creating a need for veteran leadership. The Vikings made the decision to either release or not re-sign several veteran starters in their 30s, but Frazier said others have stepped up their leadership roles, singling out center
and right tackle
“You don’t always know who is going to be the person to step up,” Frazier said. “As Christian (Ponder) matures and grows, one day he is going to lead our team and take control in doing certain things. But to have John going to the forefront like he is now, it will help us.”
Sullivan said early in camp that he was embracing the leadership role on an offensive line that has seen the exit of former starters
, Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera over the last 13 months.
The young roster spurred Frazier to put an emphasis on having enough time to teach and it was also part of the reason he switched the camp routine from previous years. This year the Vikings are conducting their hour-long walk-through sessions in the morning and saving the meaty, two-hour-plus-long practices for the afternoon.
“We really needed to have time to teach. That was going to be so, so important. We couldn’t just say the guys have familiarity with how we do things, (that) they understand the system and know the system. That’s not the case here with us this year,” Frazier said. “We really started with the bare basics as if nobody knew anything. The plus was that we had this offseason to give us a leg up on training camp.”
After almost three weeks in Mankato, Frazier is seeing some of what he hoped for when the team entered camp.
“We want to be a tough team, we want to be smart team, we want to be a disciplined team,” Frazier said. “I’m seeing some of that in the way we’re practicing. I saw some of it in the San Francisco game. Now it’s a matter of, are we talented enough to go out and do the things we have to do on Sundays. But I think the foundation is being laid to do it the right way and the rest of it has to be done over time.”
could receive more reps Wednesday afternoon than the 10 he got in his first full-pads practice Tuesday. The Vikings are also preparing to allow Peterson to take contact in the near future as he continues his comeback from Dec. 30 knee surgery. “At some point real soon, maybe next week, we’ll have to let him get a little contact. It depends a little bit on how he’s feeling and where he is,” Frazier said.
(sports hernia) is the only injured player still on the roster who might not be available for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9, Frazier said.
The coaching staff has a number of plays they would like to run in the second preseason game Friday and the starters likely will play into the second quarter, Frazier said. The healthy scratches from last week –
– are all expected to play Friday against the Buffalo Bills.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of
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