Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier couldn't stop smiling during his weekly press conference on Monday when he touched on watching the game footage from the 48-30 win over the Eagles on Sunday.
He specifically pointed out the reserves that stepped up in the absence of cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Chris Cook and running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. Matt Asiata and Shaun Prater each received their first career starts with Asiata finishing with three rushing touchdowns and Prater grabbing an interception.
Frazier credits the coaching staff for developing some the young players for that opportunity. The reserves typically stay after practice with the coaches to receive extra reps they normally wouldn’t receive in practice or in a game.
“We tell them all the time things can change in a hurry in the National Football League where you go from not dressing to all of a sudden having to be a starter in a ballgame,” Frazier said. “We’ll keep them after practices and the coaches will work with them.”
Frazier expects most of his players that were inactive to return on Sunday against the Bengals. His biggest concern however is cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), who Frazier was cautious to say he’d return. Tight end John Carlson (concussion) was evaluated on Monday, but Frazier said he didn’t pass the NFL concussion protocol over the weekend.
Cook tweaked his knee during Friday practice, which caused him to miss Sunday’s game. Frazier said it happened when he was planting on a route. An MRI revealed that Cook had a bone bruise, but Cook didn’t structurally damage his knee.
“More of dealing with the things you have to do as a defensive back – plant and turn without thinking; you can’t be worried about the pain,” Frazier said. “The fact that he was having trouble planting and driving, getting out of his back pedal, that’s a problem as a defensive back.”