Notes From Frazier’s Monday Press Conference

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 5, 2011 – 2:57 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier held his customary day-after-the-game press conference on Monday and came away from the film room with the same emotion he displayed immediately after Sunday’s loss – mistakes in the 2nd half overshadowed a lot of positive developments.

“After having had a chance to go back and look at the tape, those breakdowns in the second half really nullified a great effort by so many guys on our team,” Frazier said. “Guys coming out fighting and really playing to win; a number of guys. Percy, Toby, Jared, Kevin Williams, just a number of guys across the board battling. But we had some breakdowns in our secondary that really hurt us in the second half of that ball game.”

Frazier also cited turnovers and a special teams lapse as mistakes, ultimately acknowledging that “we are just not good enough at this point to overcome some of our own mistakes.”

As resigned as Frazier has been since the end of Sunday’s game, he actually sounds even more determined to help his team get past those mistakes and start playing better football.

“It’s something that you are concerned about and we will keep working at it as a team and as a staff,” Frazier said. “We have four games remaining this regular season, none more important than this game coming against Detroit. We have to work extremely hard to try to fix some of the problems that showed up. That kind of takes away from all the good things that did occur during the course of the game when you don’t get a win.”

Here are a few more notes from Frazier’s press conference on Monday…

Turning to Page?
Last week the Vikings made a bevy of roster moves, mostly due to injuries, and one of those moves was the signing of free agent S Jarrad Page, a 6-year veteran out of UCLA. Page has 45 career starts in his NFL career, including 5 this season with the Eagles and 1 last year in New England. Page won’t be in the starting lineup this week against the Lions, but Frazier did say on Monday that he could get some playing time on defense on a rotational basis this week.

“We are hoping he can,” Frazier said. “He did some really good things on special teams yesterday, so the fact that he has started some games this year in the League and he seemed to pick up things pretty well at the end of last week.  We are going to try to give him a little bit more and wee if he can get in the game and help us out. We are going to look at that depending on how he practices this week.”

Rosenfels’ role
Another one of the roster moves made last week was the signing of veteran Sage Rosenfels. This is Rosenfels’ second stint with the Vikings – he was with the team in 2009 – and while at some point Rosenfels could emerge as the backup, right now Joe Webb will be the #2 QB. This is an important note this week because starting QB Christian Ponder is dealing with a hip injury.

“That would be Joe,” Frazier said when asked if Rosenfels would take 1st-team reps should Ponder miss practice time. “Sage is not at that point, and I talked with Sage about his role on the team and he’s comfortable being that third guy and really helping Christian, along with Joe, to develop. But he wouldn’t be far enough along to put in a starting role.”

Happy having Herrera back
RG Anthony Herrera made his return to the starting lineup after battling back from another knee injury, this one sustained against the Green Bay Packers on October 23. Herrera made the Vikings roster as an undrafted free agent and has ascended the depth chart to establish himself as a starter. With that as his professional background and with a fiery attitude, Herrera gives the Vikings offensive line a needed edge at times, so Frazier was happy to have Herrera back in the lineup on Sunday.

“He played well,” Frazier said. “He had some moments where he struggled a little bit and then he really got his legs under him and played extremely well. It was great having him out there. He gives us some leadership, brings some intensity to our offensive line. We missed him. It was good just to have his presence on our offensive line. He brings a different vibe to our offense and gives us something that lacks at times.”

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Frazier Updates Several Injuries

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 5, 2011 – 1:48 pm

Leslie Frazier met with reporters on Monday to discuss Sunday’s game and the status of his team as they try and move past the loss to Denver and on to preparations for next weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. He opened with an update on players who sustained injuries during Sunday’s game.

Here’s a quick summary of what Frazier said…

– QB Christian Ponder has a hip pointer and will likely be limited in practice, at least early in the week. Ponder suffered the injury during the game and was obviously able to finish, but the team will monitor the injury closely over the next few days and adjust the QB’s practice time accordingly. It’s important to note a couple things here. First, Ponder relies on his mobility, so a hip injury is significant to him. Secondly, Ponder played through injuries in college and will be willing to play through pain.

– LB Chad Greenway hyper-extended his elbow, but he was also able to finish the game. It won’t be surprising if he’s limited in some capacity this week, but I’m anticipating he’ll be able to play at this point.

– DE Brian Robison suffered a concussion and did not finish the game. As is the case with all concussions, this will be a day-to-day situation.

– TE Visanthe Shiancoe came out of the game with a swollen hand. Frazier said X-rays of the hand did not show a fracture, which is obviously good news and gives Shiancoe a chance to play this weekend.

As for RB Adrian Peterson, who has missed two games with an ankle injury, there is no timeline for his return. It could be as early as this week, but there’s also a possibility that he misses another game. We’ll monitor his status as the week progresses.

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Broncos-Vikings Game To Be Featured On “NFL Replay” Tuesday Night

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on December 5, 2011 – 10:56 am

Even though the Vikings came up short by a 35-32 score to the Broncos on Sunday at Mall of America Field, it was still an exciting contest.  So exciting that NFL Network picked that game to re-air via their “NFL Replay” show on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. CST.

“NFL Replay” will compress the game down into an hour-and-a-half version of it but will mix in the original broadcast from FOX, along with NFL Films footage plus player and coach sound from before, during, and after the game.

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Harvin Has Record Day, Continues Impressive Season

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 5, 2011 – 7:54 am

Parts of the Vikings loss to the Broncos on Sunday were hard to watch. What isn’t hard to watch, though, is Vikings playmaker Percy Harvin, who was once again the star of the show on Sunday. Harvin continues to be the best player on the field on a weekly basis, and Sunday was no different as he registered a record day and continued his impressive season.

Harvin established a new career-high in receiving yards with 156 on 8 catches, and he added a pair of TDs as well. Both of Harvin’s TDs were short passes that he turned into long gains thanks to good downfield blocking and a burst that not many NFL athletes possess.

In a game that contained 9 plays of 20+ yards, Harvin had the game’s two longest TDs. He scored on TD receptions of 52 and 48 yards.

“They did a great job of being open,” Ponder said of his entire WR corps after the game. “They (Denver) play a lot of man coverage, especially on the third down. They were doing a great job of getting open and making plays. Percy turned two small catches into big touchdowns and it makes my job a lot easier.”

Ponder also had a career day, throwing for 381 yards on 29 of 47 passing. He couldn’t say enough positive things about Harvin after the game.

“He’s a great guy you can trust and have confidence in,” Ponder explained. “He can make plays. There’s some catches that he shouldn’t have caught that he made. There’s a lot of confidence in that guy that he’s going to go out and play well and give it all he has. That’s a guy who puts the team first and loves the game.”

Ponder’s confidence in Harvin is notable because Harvin’s touches and production have increased each week since Ponder took over as the team’s starter on October 23. Sunday’s outing against the Broncos was no exception. Harvin had 19 rushing yards on 5 carries to go along with his 8 receptions for 156 yards and 2 TDs. That adds up to 175 yards on 13 touches, which raises his season totals to 1,362 combined yards on 108 touches (averages out to 12.6 yards per touch).

Taking kickoffs out of the equation, here are Harvin’s touches-yards-TD totals over the past 6 games: 4-23-0; 8-77-1; 9-70-0; 11-94-1; 13-106-1; 13-175-2.

Harvin’s head coach also commented after the game about how impressive Harvin’s performance was on Sunday.

“He’s an amazing athlete,” Frazier said. “He was ill on Friday; he wasn’t able to get in to work. He wasn’t feeling too good on Saturday. He went out and played a good game. He’s a great player, great competitor, and has no quit in him at all.

“I can’t say enough about his effort and his heart.”

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Frazier Frustrated With Pass Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 5, 2011 – 7:41 am

One of Leslie Frazier’s strengths is the ability to keep a level head in all situations. He’s not one to get too high in times of prosperity or too low in times of adversity. But there was no mistaking Frazier’s emotion after Sunday’s 35-32 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

He was frustrated with the defensive effort against Denver’s passing attack. Granted, the Vikings have been decimated by injuries in the secondary and were relegated this past week to signing free agents off the street just so there were enough players to dress. But Frazier refuses to use injuries or bad luck as an excuse.

“We can’t make any excuses about it,” Frazier said after the game. “We just did a poor job. We have to identify that somebody who can come back there and make a play for us when the ball is in the air. It’s not good.”

Frazier is right, the defensive effort against Denver’s passing attack was not good. The Vikings gave up 202 passing yards and 2 passing TDs to a passing offense that ranks 31st in the NFL. Broncos QB Tim Tebow was 10 of 15 for 202 yards and 2 TDs on the game, and his top receiver – Demaryius Thomas – had 4 receptions for 144 yards and both of the scores. The Vikings allowed 3 receptions of 40+ yards.

Adding to the frustration for Frazier was the fact that the Vikings weren’t employing a complicated scheme, yet mistakes continued to plague the pass defense.

“We’re just playing a basic coverage with a lead, and to not be able to execute that is a bad thing,” Frazier explained. “It means you can’t play any coverage, not just a base coverage. The fact that we got new guys and we’re rotating guys, we’ve had some injuries, that happens. When you’re out there as a professional athlete, you have to find a way to do your job. We did not find a way to do our job.”

Outside of being visibly frustrated with the pass defense, Frazier did the right thing in not pointing out any individuals who performed below expectations.

“It’s a combination,” Frazier responded when asked if cornerbacks or safeties were to blame. “The corner has to do a great job of jamming the guy. The safety has to do a good job of being able to talk. There should not be that type of gap. We’ve been playing that coverage forever, and to see it played the way it was played today was just bad.”

As frustrated as Frazier and Vikings fans are with the outcome of Sunday’s game, the positives are not be hard to identify. RB Toby Gerhart (91 yards rushing), WR Percy Harvin (156) and QB Christian Ponder (381) all had career days, and Jared Allen recorded another safety and also another sack-forced fumble-fumble recovery. On top of that, the Vikings defense performed well in the 1st half, holding Tebow to just 37 total yards and the Broncos to just one 1st down.

In the end, though, porous pass defense and a late-game INT were enough to doom the Vikings, and sour the excitement that should surround several impressive individual performances.

“There were a lot of guys who were out there fighting and giving tremendous effort,” Frazier said. “Once again, they put us in a situation where we could win the game. We have to take our hats off to Christian and a bunch of other guys, like Percy and Jared and so many others, who fought their tails off throughout. Denver did a good job of battling and getting the tempo in the direction they wanted it to go, and we did a lousy job at defending some of the things they did in the passing game.”

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