Just got a transcript from the Vikings of their last press conference with head coach Leslie Frazier where he covered a ton of areas, both offense and defense.
Here is some of what he said as well as my thoughts on it:
As you know, Carlson is out 1-2 weeks with an MCL sprain. Frazier was asked a few things about it.
First he confirmed that it was a sprained MCL they saw on the MRI and that it would sideline him for a few weeks.
“It confirmed what the doctors initially thought, a sprained MCL,” said Frazier, “so it’s going to be maybe a week or two before we actually get him back out there. A grade two MCL sprain”
When asked about its effect on Carlson’s development as well as the ripple effect on the tight ends, Frazier was concerned about Carlson’s grasp of the offense.
“The fact that it’s a new offense for him,” Frazier said when asked for specifics, “The terminology, being not able to hear it in meetings but to actually go out there and actually practice his movements.”
On the other hand, Frazier said the other tight ends will get some extra time.
“It will probably increase their snaps, which is not a bad thing,” said Frazier. “We’d like to see Mickey Schuler, see how he does. We’d like to see Allen Reisner, see how he does. Kyle (Rudolph), we still want to make sure that he continues to progress this training camp.”
Ultimately, there were some positives to it, he said.
“It’s not a bad thing that those guys are going to get increased reps.”
“At the safety position we have made it clear to those guys that it is pretty wide open,” Frazier said. He expects Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond to compete but is giving other players a chance as well.
The old guard won’t get the job just by showing up
“Jamarca has done a good job thus far,” Frazier told the press, “but it is still too early to declare that it is going to be his job. We still want to give Harrison (Smith) a chance, give Robert (Blanton) a chance.”
Sanford has an edge because of his special teams play, which Frazier says makes him one of the premier special teams players in the league.
Frazier says his high-energy approach is an asset to the team and keeps the opposition on its toes. “Well, he is one of those guys that goes 100 miles per hour so there is never time where he takes any time off. And if you are an opposing special teams player and you are trying to get your breath, look out because Jamarca will rock you now.”
Frazier had a lot to say about the energy and personality of new Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson as well.
“He’s another guy who brings some energy,” said Frazier. “Doesn’t say a whole lot but when he says something, he has a way of making you smile, some of the things he has to say.”
Simpson’s efforts on the field have also caught Frazier’s eye. “He’s one of those guys who plays lights out in practice, diving for balls, making the hard catches.”
He had some doubts about Simpson, which the receiver put to rest when they first met.
“When I first met him, part of what I had to get past was some of the things that I had read and heard,” Frazier admitted, “I was extremely impressed with his honesty, the humility that he showed and then when I brought our players over to just interact with him…I was even more impressed with the way he handled himself and he convinced me that he fit in to what we’re trying to do here in Minnesota and he hasn’t disappointed.”
He also touched on Percy Harvin’s role on kick returns, which will be strictly situational from now on.
“That’ll be more game-to-game, situation-to-situation, what’s going on, what do we need?” responded Frazier. “You can definitely see a difference when he’s the guy returning kicks versus some of the other guys that we have.”
The coach wants to see what other guys on the roster can do as well, though.
Frazier listed several candidates. “Bryan (Walters) of course did a good job in San Diego when he was there. We want to be able to have him in the rotation and Jarius (Wright) is improving, who also may be a candidate for punt return but Marcus (Sherels) did a good job for us a season ago.”
When pushed for more of an estimate as to how often Harvin would return kicks, Frazier wouldn’t really give.
“As we said before, you have to weigh what he gives us from an offensive standpoint as well and the way he plays, you have to weigh all of that when you’re making a decision about putting him back there.”
Harvin definitely wants to be more involved in the overall offense, and if he’s going to do that, pulling him off some returns is smart.
How involved he will be is a question we won’t see answered until the beginning of the season, however.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: All quotes were provided by the Minnesota Vikings PR department in a transcription of the press conference.