The Vikings are heading into their first of 20 game weeks with the preseason opener this Friday at the Metrodome, but head coach Leslie Frazier said the team isn't focused so much on the Houston Texans, but rather the progress being made by the Vikings as they get nearer to the date when they have to start making roster cutdowns.
As has become something of a habit under Frazier's coaching, a lot of the vested veterans will see either very limited action or not play at all Friday. Those expecting to see players like Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Chad Greenway may end up being a little disappointed. While he wouldn't come right out and say it, Frazier admitted that there will be certain veteran players that will be held out of Friday's game as a precaution.
"It may be a little sooner than I want to talk about it, but that will be the case," Frazier said. "There will be certain guys that won't necessarily participate."
While the Vikings hope to use the preseason games to get a chance to see their players in live action against someone other than there own teammates, Frazier said he doesn't put much stock in the importance of preseason games when it comes to wins and losses. His focus is finding the best 53 players to make up the final roster and isn't nearly as concerned about whether the Vikings win or lose in their four preseason games. They don't count in the standings, so they don't have a lot of significance to Frazier other than serving the purpose of getting a different type of look to evaluate their personnel.
"We're really concentrating on our team and our roster," Frazier said. "This preseason game is important for different reasons. The primary reason it's important is it gives us a chance to evaluate guys in game situations. From a win-loss standpoint, there's not a lot of credence in it. We're just doing the things that are necessary to evaluate our players."
Frazier said that the team still has a long way to go to get ready for the regular season opener a month from Thursday, but that he has been very encouraged with what he has seen through the first week and a half of practice.
"There are definitely some things we need to work on to achieve our goals, but I think we're headed in the right direction," Frazier said. "There's a lot we have to get cleaned up. We have a few guys that are banged up right now, but the attitude and the work ethic of our players really gets you encouraged."
Offensive lineman Joe Berger left camp Sunday night for what Frazier termed "a personal matter." No timetable has been announced for when Berger will return to the team.
As for other injured players who have been dinged up early in camp, including Desmond Bishop, Xavier Rhodes and Mistral Raymond, Frazier said they likely wouldn't take part in Monday afternoon's practice and he will know more tomorrow as to whether they will be available for Friday's game against Houston.
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.
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