Vikings careful not to celebrate too soon

Leslie Frazier (Joe Robbins/Getty)

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier had a message for his team: The first quarter of the season was nice, but NFL teams don't celebrate championships in September.

Vikings players have been sounding the mantra that it's far too early to celebrate their accomplishments after only one month of the NFL season.

Despite coming off a 3-13 season filled with frustration, confusion and losses, players aren't allowing themselves too much time to celebrate the matching of their win total from the entire 2011 season.

"It's so early in the season and we've all seen teams that have gotten off to good starts and they are nowhere to be found when December rolls around," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "We don't want to be one of those teams. We know we have a lot of work to do. We know we have a lot of improvement to do.

"All of us have been around long enough to know there are no champagne bottles that are being popped in September. We have to be smart."

The Vikings started the 2011 season with four straight losses coming off the NFL lockout, with a new quarterback (Donovan McNabb) in place with a new offensive coordinator (Bill Musgrave) and system.

In 2010, they started the season 1-4 before finishing the season 6-10. They were 3-7 before Brad Childress was fired and replaced by Frazier and 3-3 with their interim coach in the final six games of the season.

Not since 2009, when Brett Farve rolled into Minnesota with something to prove have the Vikings started the season this well. Favre won his first six games with the team on their way to a 12-4 record.

Frazier wanted to remind his rebuilt team this week that the Vikings still need to keep winning to have their early success mean anything. Like many NFL coaches, he separated the season into quarters. The Vikings just finished their first quarter 3-1 and now enter the second quarter of the season with three home games in the next four contests.

"One of the things that happens a lot of times, in that second quarter it begins to separate. You start seeing the teams that are for real and those that are pretenders," Frazier said. "We want to be one of those teams that are for real, so we did, we went through some things with our team in regards to that."

He put the team's first-quarter success and his second-quarter desire into graphic form for a team meeting on Monday.

"I wanted to remind them of some of the things they've done in this first quarter to help us where we are right now and how we couldn't have a regression in certain area. I tried to point what we've done, how we've got to where we are and things I thought would be necessary for us to go forward. Part of it will be our focus in practice and our preparation each and every week. Not taking any situation for granted," he said.

"Just highlighted some of the things I think we've done well and some of those things that I think we need to improve on because other teams will watch the tape and try to find areas that they will exploit."

NOTES

  • DE Jared Allen (groin), WR Michael Jenkins (rib), S Mistral Raymond (ankle) and S Andrew Sendejo (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday. Besides Raymond, Frazier anticipates all but maybe Sendejo to be ready for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans. Raymond is expected to miss at least a couple more weeks. Allen was on the injury report last week with a neck issue, but when he missed a few plays Sunday it was reported as cramps.

  • LB Erin Henderson (concussion) returned to practice on a limited basis but hasn't yet been cleared for full practice. Frazier said he is hopeful Henderson is ready by Sunday, but he admitted he hoped the same thing last week.

  • G Charlie Johnson (low back), QB Christian Ponder (knee), CB Marcus Sherels (quad) and CB Antoine Winfield (knee) were limited. Ponder had a small wrap on his knee for his press conference, but it didn't appear the knee was affecting him at the start of practice. He was on the injury report last week with a neck issue. Johnson, Sherels and Winfield are additions to the injury report while TE Kyle Rudolph (quad), DE D'Aundre Reed (calf) and LB Marvin Mitchell (ankle) have been removed from the injury report.

  • The Titans declared QB Jake Locker out for Sunday's game with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. Earlier Wednesday, Titans coach Mike Munchak said they would give the injury a few days to see how it felt before making a decision.

  • WR Kenny Britt (hand), LB Patrick Bailey (hand), G Leroy Harris (not injury related) and DE Scott Solomon (hamstring) joined Locker as non-participants in Wednesday's practice. TE Jared Cook (shoulder) and LB Colin McCarthy (ankle) were limited.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.


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