Vikings coach Leslie Frazier received a nice round of applause from the crowd at Xcel Energy Center this afternoon as he deftly handled the "Let's Play Hockey" call before the opening faceoff of the Tampa Bay-Wild game. Frazier was presented with a green Wild jersey that had his name and the No. 21 on the back. That is the number Frazier wore as a cornerback with the Chicago Bears.
We were able to catch up with Frazier on a few Vikings-releated topics.
Minicamp likely on hold
It comes as no surprise that Frazier sees little chance he will be able to conduct the first of two mandatory minicamps next weekend. As a first-year coach, under the now expired collective bargaining agreement, Frazier had the right to have two (instead of one) mandatory offseason camp. The NFL lockout means that teams can't have any dealings with their players at this point.
“It’s highly unlikely now," he said. "We’re less than a week away to try to get everybody in town and getting ready to go. Barring something clearly unforeseen, I don’t think we’re going to get it done. We’re going to make a decision as a staff on Monday.”
Asked if he would keep a second minicamp on the schedule, just at a later date, Frazier brought up an excellent point. That's the fact a new CBA could eliminate the ability of a new coach to have a second mandatory minicamp. "There are so many things we don't know," he said. "We're just kind of waiting to see."
About those Ponder, Newton workouts
Frazier declined to confirm that he attended private workouts for quarterbacks Christian Ponder of Florida State and Cam Newton of Auburn this past week. This comes as no surprise considering NFL types rarely are willing to discuss where they have been and who they have seen.
“The only thing I can say is I’ve visited a few different places over this offseason," Frazier said.
Frazier did say he is close to being done with his visits to see prospects because the Vikings soon will be starting draft meetings at Winter Park. "I have to be in-house for those," he said. That doesn't mean the Vikings scouts won't stay on the road and it's certainly possible Frazier could take a late trip if he and team executives feel it is necessary. (Brad Childress’ late trip to Florida to visit Percy Harvin and his family a couple of years ago is a perfect example.)
As for a comment he made at the owners meetings last month in New Orleans about potentially taking a quarterback in the first two rounds, Frazier said:
“The only thing I was saying about that is that would be ideal. That’s the term I used. But you don’t want to get to the point where you’re reaching for a player just because you have what you perceive as a need at quarterback. We want to get the best player that’s available and if the quarterback we like is not there you can’t just say, ‘OK, we’re going to take that guy because he plays quarterback.’ We have other needs other than that position. We’ve got to be smart. … When we sit down and go through all the scenarios we’re going to try to take the best player that’s available for us at whatever spot we take him.”
Visits this week
While the Vikings almost certainly won't be able to hold a minicamp next weekend, the team will play host to its "Top 30" dinner in the middle of this week. The Vikings are allowed to have 30 visits from draft prospects and most of them all will be at the same time. There could be a couple of players brought in individually, too.
Names of some of the players expected at Winter Park on Wednesday have been coming out. Add to that list linebacker Scott Lutrus of Connecticut and fullback/h-back Charles Clay of Tulsa.
Tampa Bay Lightning Chief Executive officer Tod Leiweke and Frazier chatted for a few minutes in the press box during the first period of today's game. Leiweke interviewed Frazier fo the Seattle Seahawks head coaching job in January 2010 when Leiweke was the CEO of the Seahawks.
That was an interesting situation because many felt the Seahawks already had picked Pete Carroll to be their head coach and conducted the interview with Frazier simply to comply with the "Rooney Rule."
Of course, things appeared to have turned out just fine for Frazier.
- Frazier and his wife, Gale, watched the Wild game from a press box booth at Xcel Energy Center. Lester Bagley, the team's vice president of public affairs and stadium development, and Kevin Warren, vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer, also spent time with the Fraziers watching the game.
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