All of the attention this week in Mobile, Alabama during Senior Bowl practices is on this group of senior football players, as it should be. This is their time to shine, in front of hundreds of NFL coaches, scouts and GMs, and with no underclassmen present to steal the spotlight.
But given that Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff are heading up the North squad this year, and given the intensity with which the Vikings staff is coaching, I wanted to take a quick moment to acknowledge the effort and hard work Coach Frazier’s group has committed to this week and to this North squad.
I wrote a full piece on this subject, which you can view by clicking here. But I also wanted to share one highlight of the story here with vikings.com Blog readers.
An example of a Vikings coach taking advantage of the opportunity to coach in the Senior Bowl and get the most out of these senior football players with the NFL draft just 3 months away is DBs coach Joe Woods, who has been with the club since 2006. Some coaches motivate and instruct subtly, some are more vocal and boisterous. Woods doesn’t blur the line – he’s one of the team’s most vocal coaches, and that makes it easy and fun to watch him at work with his players.
Woods actually was in quite the fish bowl during Wednesday’s practice as he worked with the North squad’s DBs during the individual drills portion of the workout. He was working with his players on changing direction, especially on the art of players shifting their body weight from one direction to the other as they responded to instructions from Woods during the drill. As Woods barked out instructions and his players labored through the drill, a rather large crowd of distinguished NFL personalities gathered to watch.
To one side was Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who worked with Woods in 2006 on the Vikings staff and before that in Tampa Bay. Standing next to Tomlin was Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. On the other side of the drill was Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, a former Vikings defensive backs coach as well. And standing behind the drill watching from the NFL Network set was Mike Mayock, a former defensive back himself and one of the top NFL draft and college football analysts in the country.
Certainly these individuals were not gathered to watch how an assistant coach conducted the drill, that’s not the point. They were gathered to watch the talented crop of individuals that comprise the North squad’s DBs group. But while Tomlin, Dimitroff, Carroll and Mayock watched those players, they were also subjected to the passionate style with which Woods coaches, not just here in Mobile but also back with the Vikings on a daily basis during the season and during the offseason program.
I’m not the only one noticing the excellent job Frazier and his staff are doing with this year’s North team.
“The Minnesota coaches are real,” Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Denard told the Star Tribune’s Dan Wiederer earlier in the week. “Coach Frazier put a lot of fire in our eyes. I like the way he talks. He let us know this was a big step and that we need to go hard every play all day long to stand out.”
The North squad players are not the only individuals standing out. Frazier and his staff are standing out as a passionate and talented group of coaches. Coming off a 3-13 season, the Vikings have a lot of holes to fill on the roster and a lot of improvement to make overall during the offseason.
If their performance during Senior Bowl practices this week is any indication, the Vikings coaching staff is already hard at work.
Tags: Joe Woods, Leslie Frazier, Senior Bowl
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