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Frazier Named To Coaches Subcommittee Of The NFL’s Competition Committee

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 15, 2013 – 1:32 pm

The NFL announced on Monday that Commissioner Roger Goodell has named Leslie Frazier and three other head coaches – Miami’s Joe Philbin, Carolina’s Ron Rivera and Atlanta’s Mike Smith – to the Coaches Subcommittee of the NFL Competition Committee. The subcommittee consists of the following members: John Madden, Tom Coughlin (NY Giants), Frazier, John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens), Philbin, Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs), Rivera and Smith.

The subcommittee is chaired by Hall of Fame coach John Madden and reports to the full Competition Committee prior to the annual NFL meeting every March. The subcommitee also meets on a regular basis via conference call to discuss player safety, competitive issues, coaching and personnel development and technological innovations.

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who served on the subcommittee since 2009, was recently named to the Competition Committee.

 

 


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Vikings Hit The Road To Collect Hardware

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 4, 2013 – 11:47 am

Adrian Peterson had already won and collected NFL MVP honors earlier this year. But Peterson’s sensational 2012 season continues to collect hardware.

This past weekend Peterson was in Atlantic City to collect The Maxwell Club’s Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year Award. It’s the second time he’s received the award (2008). Also this past weekend, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave were in Kansas City to accept on Peterson’s behalf the NFL 101 award for NFC Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Peterson rushed his way into the history books in 2012, less than a year removed from a serious knee injury and grueling rehabilitation process. He finished the season with 2,097 yards rushing, the second-highest total in League history and just 9 yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s NFL record (2,105).

The historic season Peterson authored was instrumental in the Vikings generating the greatest single-season win increase in franchise history, going from 3 wins in 2011 to 10 wins in 2012 in addition to making the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

More on the Maxwell Club
The Maxwell Football Club is an organization involved not only in football at all levels but the community in general, not just once a year, but all year. It’s an organization dedicated to the concept that young people are the potential of this nation.  The Maxwell Football Club wants to help young people realize that potential as leaders now, and as the future leaders of this country.

More on the 101 Awards
Following each National Football League season, a civic organization called “The Committee of 101” hosts the 101 Awards, Kansas City’s Salute to Professional Football. This nationally-renowned event was initiated in 1969 by a group headed by Kansas City businessman Jack O. Wheeler to honor outstanding achievements in professional football. Each year, 101 members of the national media select the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year in the American Football Conference and National Football Conference.


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Vikings Announce Coaching Staff Moves

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 4, 2013 – 10:28 am

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has made two adjustments to his coaching staff – one is a position switch and the other is an addition.

The switch will be made by Ryan Ficken, who joined the Vikings staff in 2007 and was previously the assistant wide receivers coach. Ficken will now be the assistant special teams coordinator, replacing Chris White. Earlier in the offseason, White left the Vikings to accept a position at the University of Iowa.

The addition is Jeff Howard, who replaces Cam Turner as the Vikings Assstant to the Head Coach. Cameron Turner previously held the position but left this offseason to join his father’s staff at Florida International University. Howard spent 2011-12 at Texas Tech as a graduate assistant, where he was the safeties coach and the defensive recruiting coordinator.


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Friday’s Combine Schedule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 22, 2013 – 8:03 am

Here’s a quick rundown of a few things to watch for today at the Combine…

Players – Offensive linemen, place kickers, special teams players and tight ends enter Day 3 of the Combine schedule, which includes: an NFLPA Meeting; Psychological Testing, PK/ST on-field workout; Bench Press; Interviews. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are in Day 2 of the Combine schedule and will have Measurememnts, Medical Examinations, Media Obligations and Team Interviews. The arrivals today are DL and LBs. They’ll go through Registration, Hospital Pre-Exam and X-rays, Orientation, and Interviews.

Vikings Personnel – Head Coach Leslie Frazier will head to the media center this moring, just as Rick Spielman did on Thursday. He’ll swing by the KFAN broadcast booth to chat with Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen during his radio show. PA will be joined by Charch again today as they do their final show from radio row inside Lucas Oil Stadium. – Frazier will also have his press conference here at the Combine and will appear at the podium – we’ll pass the time along via Twitter when we know for sure he’ll be at the podium.

I will also join PA and Charch on-air today.

Combine Coverage – Once again, you won’t see wall-to-wall daily Combine coverage on NFL Network or ESPN until Saturday most likely, but you will see that type of coverage right here on vikings.com. So be sure to check back with us regularly to catch interviews of players, our coaches and personnel executives, yours truly, PA and Charch, and several other well-known national NFL media members. – Be sure to follow us on Twitter for even more updates. You can follow the Vikings (@Vikings) and me (@wobby) for those updates.


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Catch Our Coverage Of The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 20, 2013 – 6:15 am

For the 6th consecutive year, the Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) will have a presence at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and we encourage you to check out all the different ways we’ll be bringing you the action.

I’ll be handling the writing portion of our coverage as usual, but we’ll also have cameras at the event, so be sure to check out all the cool video coverage provided by our VEN experts.

The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine will be held from February 20 to February 26, and VEN will be in Indianapolis from Wednesday (today) through Monday. But our coverage of the Combine will not end when we leave on Monday – it will continue through the conclusion of the event.

Be sure to follow the Vikings (@VikingsFootball) and me (@wobby) on Twitter for even more coverage of the high-profile event.

A few pieces of content you can expect to catch this week include: Rick Spielman’s press conference on Thursday, Leslie Frazier’s press conference on Friday, on-camera interviews with both Frazier and Spielman, interviews of college players, interviews of local and national media members and potentially other NFL personalities that are typically found roaming near and around the event. Also, Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen will host his daily 9-noon (CT) radio show from the Combine on Thursday and Friday, where he’ll be joined by Paul Charchian. When possible, we’ll stream those interviews on the website and perhaps even put them in on-demand form eventually.

All of that is a lot to remember, but don’t worry because you can always visit our convenient NFL Draft Central page to stay up-to-date on the latest coverage. This page is your one-stop shop for the latest interviews, videos, blog entries and stories from the Combine in Indianapolis all the way through the 2013 NFL Draft.

We’re looking forward to another exciting NFL Scouting Combine and our best coverage of the event ever. Be sure to catch it all right here on vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog.


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Frazier, Warren Honored At Fritz Pollard Alliance Awards Banquet

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 1, 2013 – 1:34 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and Vice President of Legal Affairs & Chief Administration Officer Kevin Warren were recipients of Fritz Pollard Alliance “Salute To Excellence” awards on Thursday night in New Orleans.

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The Salute to Excellence award recognizes the outstanding performance of minority NFL Head Coaches and Executives, collegiate coaches, and high school seniors during the current season. This recognition is particularly extraordinary as it highlights the tremendous efforts and sacrifices made by current and previous honorees that will lead to even greater opportunities for minorities seeking advancement opportunities.

“I am very honored, humbled and grateful to have received the Fritz Pollard Alliance ‘Salute To Excellence’ award last night,” Frazier said. “To truly understand the significance of what Fritz Pollard accomplished in his lifetime is special. This award and what it represents has major significance to the Minnesota Vikings franchise, our team and the many coaches of color who are all seeking an opportunity in the NFL.”

“I am very humbled to have been named a recipient of the Fritz Pollard Alliance ‘Salute To Excellence’ award,” Warren said. “This was a special evening, especially to share it with Leslie Frazier, a man for whom I have great respect and admiration. I am grateful to the Wilf family for the opportunity to play a significant role in the Vikings franchise and to be judged by my experience regardless of the color of my skin.”

The FPA was organized for the purposes of promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of National Football League teams, by means including:

*     Providing networking, mentoring and career development opportunities for minority candidates on NFL team staffs.

*     Encouraging adoption of rules and practices by the NFL that foster diversity on team staffs.

*     Educating NFL team owners and managers regarding the availability of minority candidates for team staff positions.

*     Advocating the hiring and promotion of minority candidates in NFL team staff hierarchy through public education and communication with team and league ownership and management.


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Who Is Aaron Mellette? Plus Other First Impressions In Mobile

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 22, 2013 – 12:08 am

I hadn’t been in Mobile more than an hour and hadn’t even sniffed a practice field, and yet I could already fill up a notebook of first impressions from the 2013 Senior Bowl. Before the vikings.com Blog becomes consumed by my practice reports and observations, let’s empty out the notebook from Monday as made the trek from Minneapolis to Mobile, by way of Atlanta…

– Before I get in to a few notes about my time traveling to – and in – Mobile so far, I want to mention a player down here at the Senior Bowl who has captured the attention of some already. His name is Aaron Mellette, and he is a wide receiver for the North team. Mellette measures in a 6-4, 215 pounds, so it sounds as if he has a prototypical build for an NFL WR. He played collegiately at Elon University, a school located in Elon, North Carolina and a program that competes in the Southern Conference. In his senior season, Mallette hauled in 97 receptions for 1,398 yards and 18 TDs. The reason I became aware of him is because I saw NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock upon my arrival in downtown Mobile on Monday night and before our conversation ended I had to ask him about Aaron “Mitts” Dobson. Mayock gave me a positive response on Dobson, but while he was doing that, Charles Davis, also of NFL Network, made a comment about Mellette’s performance on Day 1 of Senior Bowl week. Not sure what to make of it all yet, but it’s another name to add to the list of players to watch this week.

– I couldn’t help but pay attention to the temperature outside as I drove toward the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to board my flight. One bank marquee listed the temperature as -3 degrees. The temperature here in Mobile isn’t anything incredible – 57 degrees when I landed – but it beats the heck out of -9. The weather in general is supposed to be pleasant here in Mobile for the week, with temps tomorrow of around 57 and increasing to 61 on Wednesday, 67 on Thursday and 68 on Friday. Last year inclement weather forced Leslie Frazier to move one of his practices indoors, a major bummer for the players and for NFL teams trying to scout the players.

– It’s awesome when pilots get on the PA system and declare to the passengers what route the plane will take to arrive at its destination. It’s frustrating to look down from your window and not know what’s below you. The pilot on our flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta extended the courtesy of informing us of our flight path. I appreciated it.

– The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane and entered the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was the amount of San Francisco 49ers-clad travelers were scurrying around the building. The 49ers had of course just defeated the Falcons in the Georgia Dome the day prior, so the many 49ers fans who traveled to see their team play were on their way home.

– It was fun running into Chad O’Shea at the airport in Atlanta. He was an offensive assistant coach on Brad Childress’ staff with the Vikings from 2006-08, but took a promotion with the New England Patriots and joined Bill Belichick’s staff in 2009. Talk about a quick turnaround – O’Shea and the Patriots had lost the AFC title game less than 24 hours before I saw him in the Atlanta airport connecting to a flight for Mobile.

– It’s a different vibe down here this year compared to last year. Remember, last year Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff were in charge of the North squad. This year, Frazier and his staff are just like the other teams who aren’t coaching one of the teams. So it makes for a different environment all together, but it will still be productive for the coaches and scouts, and for the Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN).

– One thing is unmistakable – the people down here in Mobile love their college football. I sat next to a woman on the flight from Atlanta to Mobile, and she had so much to say about how much the Senior Bowl means to the Mobile community and she had so much to say about many of the players who’ve played in the Senior Bowl itself in years past, from current players such as Andy Dalton, Clay Matthews, Tim Tebow and Russell Wilson, to throwbacks such as Tee Martin (a Mobile native).

– Speaking of Mobile natives, there is a Mobile native who will be a senior next year and who, if he plays in the Senior Bowl, will be a bigger sensation than even Tebow. University of Alabama QB AJ McCarron. Yes, the back-to-back national champion who is looking to be a back-to-back-to-back national champion with head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. If McCarron does that, and if he chooses to come back to Mobile and play in the Senior Bowl, the scene down here next year could be nuts.


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Notes And Quotes From Frazier’s End-Of-Season Press Conference

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 8, 2013 – 1:43 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier held his annual end-of-season press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Frazier meets with reporters multiple times per week during the regular season, but Tuesday’s press conference represents the last of these regular meetings of the 2012 season. Frazier will, of course, speak with reporters during the offseason, but this is the last extensive question-and-answer session he’ll have until most likely the Scouting Combine in late February.

Here are several notes and quotes from Frazier’s end-of-season press conference…

Proud of his team
The Vikings fell short of their ultimate team goal – winning the Super Bowl. But they accomplished many other goals throughout the 2012 regular season, including collecting enough wins to earn the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2009. For that, and for other unstated reasons, Frazier said he was proud of this year’s team.

“I’m very, very proud of our football team and what they accomplished this season,” Frazier said. “Our guys worked extremely hard going all the way back to April 23 when they came back into the building to really set a foundation for this 2012 season. Because of their hard work, we were able to secure a playoff berth. The foundation has been set for our team, without question.

“Our core identities showed up. The traits that we talked about throughout the year…being a tough, smart, disciplined football team. It was exemplified through this group of young men.”

Developing a young roster
I didn’t pay much attention to this aspect of the team until Frazier referenced it during his press conference, but 22 of the 53 players currently on the Vikings roster are listed as being in their 1st or 2nd season. It’s impressive that this team played so well so late in the season and qualified for the postseason with so many young players and so many young players at important positions.

Frazier credited his coaching staff for the work they did in developing young players and he also expressed gratitude to his veteran players for their leadership roles as well.

Frazier also said he didn’t anticipate changes to his coaching staff, barring any promotions some of them may receive.

Dome-field advantage is back
Frazier has said many times in the past that he understands how difficult an environment Mall of America Field can be for opposing teams. He mentioned it once again during Tuesday’s press conference, expressing appreciation for the support of Vikings fans and for the noise the crowd creates in the Vikings home stadium.

“I think for any team that comes to Mall of America Field, our goal going into the season, we wanted to make it extremely difficult for anybody to think that they could come here and win. Our guys, they got that done. To go 7-1 at home, with the support we got from our fans, that was a big deal for our success during the season.”

Injury report
Frazier listed DE Jared Allen (shoulder) and P Chris Kluwe (left knee) as players who will likely undergo surgeries for ailments. He also listed LB Tyrone McKenzie (shoulder), RB Adrian Peterson (core muscle), QB Christian Ponder (triceps) and CB Antoine Winfield (hand) as players also dealing with injuries, but he didn’t indicate surgery would be needed for any of those players. Overall, none of the injuries should impact any of those players’ ability to participate minicamps, training camp or the 2013 regular season, according to Frazier.

Ponder is the Vikings starter going forward
Frazier was asked a series of questions about the team’s quarterback situation. He was unequivocal in saying that Ponder would be the team’s starter going into the offseason. He was vaguer about the depth chart after Ponder, saying Joe Webb would compete for the backup job behind Ponder and also mentioning McLeod Bethel-Thompson as someone who was involved in the team’s plans. Beyond that, Frazier wisely pointed out that it’s hard to prognosticate what will happen at that position – or any position – at this point in the offseason.

Futures for Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield
Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield have been productive players for the Vikings for many seasons, and both were vital components to the defensive effort in 2012. But both guys are also quite long in the tooth, with Williams having completed his 10th season and Winfield having completed his 14th. As it stands right now, though, it sounds like Frazier would love to have both guys return for the 2013 season.

“The intangible in this is a big deal when you’re trying to get the locker room the way you want it,” Frazier explained. “And both Antoine and Kevin are guys who have achieved a lot in our League, a lot of success. So to have star players with the demeanor and leadership qualities that they both possess, helped our football team in 2012, there’s no question about it.

“Would love to have those guys on our team going forward. That’s something we’re going to talk about when we have our personnel meetings with (General Manager) Rick (Spielman) and our personnel department. Just talk about their fit going forward. But from my vantage point, very appreciative of the leadership they provided this season, what they’ve meant in my time here in Minnesota, and I want them to remain Minnesota Vikings. They are great, great players and great people as well.”


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Uncharacteristic Miscues Cost Vikings In Playoff Loss

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2013 – 3:01 pm

A quick glance at the box score might lead one to conclude that the disparity in production at QB led to the outcome of Saturday night’s Wild Card game playoff between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Green Bay came out a winner by a 24-10 count behind a 274-yard, 1-TD performance from QB Aaron Rodgers, while the Vikings offense struggled with backup QB Joe Webb under center.

It’s true that a big difference in play at QB was a determining factor in the game. But mistakes in other areas of the game were contributing factors as well. Just as frustrating for the Vikings as not having their starting QB available for the biggest game of the season was the fact that many of the costly mistakes committed by the Vikings were uncharacteristic of the way the team played down the stretch, when they won four consecutive games to qualify for the postseason.

Consider the following costly miscues committed by the Vikings:

– Leading 3-0 midway through the 1st quarter, the Vikings held Green Bay to a 3-and-out on its first possession and then stopped them on 3rd and 2 on their second possession. But an offsides penalty against veteran DT Kevin Williams extended Green Bay’s drive, and RB DuJuan Harris made the Vikings pay several minutes later when he scored from 8 yards out.

– On the first drive of the 3rd quarter, Green Bay was stopped again on 3rd down and was forced to bring their FG team out onto the field to salvage a score. But the Vikings had 12 men on the huddle due to a miscommunication from the sideline, and Green Bay was awarded a 1st down. On the next play, Rodgers found FB Jon Kuhn for a 9-yard TD, giving the Packers a commanding 24-3 lead.

– With 14:12 to play in the 4th quarter, the Vikings forced a punt from Green Bay and were poised to take possession while trailing by 21 points. But Marcus Sherels, who had been solid as the team’s punt returner all season, muffed the punt and it was recovered by the Packers. Green Bay was forced to punt again just 3 plays later, but they burned 2 more valuable minutes before doing so.

The last mistake did not result in a Green Bay score, but the previous two mistakes resulted in two Green Bay TDs. Keep in mind, the winning margin for Green Bay in the game was 14 points.

“To give up fourteen points after we should’ve been off the field, it is uncharacteristic,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “We’ve done a good job with penalties this year. Marcus has been great catching punts. We never had to worry about him fielding punts.

“Those are things you don’t want to see happen – unforced errors in a game like this. It’ll kill you, that’s a good football team. For whatever reason it happened to us tonight.”

Despite the mistakes and the effort that resulted in a 14-point loss and early exit from the playoffs, Frazier reiterated during his press conference that he was proud of his team’s effort over the course of the season. No one is proud of the result, but that doesn’t preclude one from appreciating the effort and results that came from a successful 2012 season for the Vikings.

“I thought our guys played hard,” Frazier said. “We just didn’t always play the way we are capable of playing in some instances.

“I’m extremely proud of our football team, and the way they worked throughout this year to represent our organization, to represent our state. The effort that they have every single week throughout the course of this season, including tonight, those guys never let anyone put limitations on what they could achieve and they played as hard as they could and tried to do the very best they could to give us a chance to win. Tough loss, not the way we wanted our season to end. But because of the character of the men on this football team, there are a lot of things that we can learn from this 2012 season.”


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A Few Final Pre-Game Thoughts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 5, 2013 – 5:55 pm

Lambeau

The anticipation and build-up is nearly over. Game time is approaching. The 3rd matchup in 5 weeks between the Vikings and Packers is upon us, and this one means everything. It’s just the 2nd postseason game ever between these two clubs. It’s win or go home.

I’ll be joining the Vikings Radio Network pre-game show about 40 minutes before kickoff to help the guys preview this game. Prior to me joining the show, all the main subplots will surely be addressed. Do the Vikings have an answer for Aaron Rodgers? Do the Packers have an answer for Adrian Peterson? How will Joe Webb play as the team’s starter? So my focus will be on some of the other subplots in this game – subplots that may not be talked about as much, but will still have an impact on this game.

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ll talk about when I join host Mike Mussman on the Vikings Radio Network…

– We saw the Vikings defensive coaching staff draw up creative game plans to defeat St. Louis and Houston. They used zone blitzes, linebacker pressures and defensive back blitzes to generate pressure on opposing passers. What can Leslie Frazier’s staff do tonight to Green Bay that represents a new wrinkle?

– A big part of the Vikings defensive effort will be Antoine Winfield’s inclusion. He will be key to defending the pass, but I think he’s a huge part of defending the run, too. The Vikings don’t want to let Green Bay run the ball. Rodgers is good enough the way it is, if Green Bay can keep the Vikings off-balance, look out.

– Matt Kalil vs. Clay Matthews. This was a good matchup last week. Whenever these two are lined up across from one another, it’s a fun one to watch. I thought Matthews had the edge early in last week’s game, but then Kalil settled down and the Vikings were able to operate without Matthews blowing things up.

– Ball control and field position important for the Vikings. The Vikings did win a shootout over this explosive Packers team last week, but I don’t expect the Vikings to initiate a shootout tonight. I think the Vikings would benefit from a lower-possession game, a game that is a battle over field position and a game in which points are at a premium.

– The Vikings kickoff and punt coverage groups leaked yardage last week. That can’t happen tonight. The Packers are good enough offensively. To give Rodgers and Co. a short field tonight will make for a long night.

– The two X-factors tonight are Everson Griffen for the Vikings and Charles Woodson for the Packers. Griffen had 3.0 sacks in last week’s win over Green Bay and he has a career-high 8.0 sacks this season. Green Bay must find a way to block him. Woodson returns to action from a broken collarbone tonight. He’s missed 9 games because of the injury, but now he’s ready to go. The guy is a future Hall of Famer, so the Vikings must be aware of him.


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