Vikings coach Leslie Frazier appeared Friday afternoon on KFAN Radio with Paul Allen and Paul Charchian. Here is some of what he had to say:
Q. You've been to several Pro Days. Is it starting to settle down a little bit?
A. "It's beginning to settle down, but we've got a lot more work to do between now and the 28th [of April when the NFL draft begins]. A lot of work to be done.
Q. How is this time of year different in a lockout season than all the other offseasons that you've had?
A. "Well, the draft is still the same. The process itself really hasn't changed. That has not been affected because of the lockout. So that part of it is really what it has been all along. The difference is just the fact that the [current players] aren't around. But the draft itself, the evaluation process, visiting college campuses. We've always done this. That's really nothing any different."
Q. Do you sense the lockout is taking away from anything when you talk to fans or are they just sitting back and waiting for the draft?
A. "I get the sense that everybody is clued into the draft and just wondering what direction we're going to go. What direction some of the other teams, maybe in our division, are going to go. It just seems like everybody is focused on that part of things right now. Which is the way it should be. This is a very important part of the year. What we do in this draft will have an impact on our football team and organization for many years to come. I think with our fans, just like with our staff, everything is focused towards the draft."
Q. Is the first round of the draft board at Winter Park set yet or is it still fluid?
A. "Still fluid at this point. As I mentioned, there is so much work to be done between now and the 28th and we'll be discussing scenarios all throughout and still making campus visits. We'll bring guys in to visit our facility, sit down and talk with them, get to know them a little bit. We've got a lot more research to do on so many different players. It will change a lot between now and the 28th."
Q. What's different in a Leslie Frazier draft war room than say Brad Childress'?
A. "I don't know what specifics would be different. I just know we're taking an approach similar to what we've done with our defensive players about being able to identify what our needs are, what we think we need to do to be able to be successful. Not necessarily looking at other teams but what's best for the Minnesota Vikings? That's been what Rick Spielman and Scott Studwell and the rest of our scouting staff, along with our coaches, that's exactly what we want and that's the way we've approached it. What's best for the Minnesota Vikings? That will be the theme as we're leading up to the 28th and right on through the draft. We're going to try to do what we think is best for the Minnesota Vikings and will help us to win a championship. If we can do that, if we can just stay focused on that, not get caught up in what draftniks have to say or anyone else, we'll be fine."
Q. There appear to be many options having the 12th overall pick in the first round, right?
A. "Many options. There are so many different scenarios. You could find other teams trying to move up or move down. So, just a lot of potential issues and options that we'll have to pay attention to and go through some of those scenarios ourselves and just try to determine what's going to be best for us."
Q. Considering the need you have at quarterback, isn't it often compelling to try to get that position filled in the first two rounds? Especially since you don't have a third-round pick.
A. "You don't want to reach. You don't want to just reach for the sake of saying, 'OK, we took a quarterback,' and all of a sudden you're setting the organization back, setting our team back, because you didn't get a guy who could really help your football team be successful. ... You want to be careful about that. There are a lot of good players in this draft and we're going to get a good player, more than one good player, along the way. We've just got to be patient and make sure that we do our due diligence over the next few weeks, which we are, then we'll get a good football player."
Q. How much does it hurt not to have that third-round pick -- which was traded to New England for Randy Moss -- and will you miss it more because you will lose out on a player or because you have lost some leverage to move up in the first or second round?
A. "Well, I know, Rick Spielman and his staff, they are going to do a great job of putting us in a position to be successful in this draft. Right now, we don't have a third-round pick. We're operating as if we don't have one and we have a good plan if it turns out to be that way. We're still discussing some different scenarios that we want to take a look at as we go forward. But it won't handicap us to the point where we can't be successful in this draft. With everything that Rick and Scott have shared with me, I feel very confident that we're going to have a successful draft."
Q. Are you comfortable discussing positives or negatives with any of these kids you've seen at Pro Days?
A. "I do not feel comfortable talking about their Pro Days. No. All I can say is the guys are doing well. Everybody has worked extremely hard in preparing for Pro Days. But the one thing that both of you know is you can't get so enamored with Pro Days that you forget about the tapes. That tape is crucial. You're talking about a body of work over a period of time as opposed to a 30- or 40-minute workout at a combine or even a Pro Day. It's just a part of the process. You just can't get overly enamored with that part of it."
Q. And then there is Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, whose tape clearly looks good, but you've got to have a sit down with him face-to-face before you can get squared away, right?
A. "You want to try to get in front of as many kids as you can that you're thinking about drafting. Whether it be at the Senior Bowl, the East-West Shrine or whether it be at the combine or campus visits. You want to talk to as many kids as you can. That's why we have a vast scouting department, to get that done, along with our coaches in conjunction with our scouts. Part of that is just another part of the process, along with the tape. Just getting to know these players as best as you can. Then you try to make a great decision."
Q. What are the things in particular you look for when you have a quarterback either work out for you or you visit with him?
A. "There are a lot of qualities that make a successful quarterback. You're not only looking at his aptitude when it comes to X's and O's, but you're trying to find out what intangibles he brings to the table. Whether it be leadership or his ability to influence teammates. There are just a lot of factors. But sure enough you do have to make sure that he has the accuracy. He has the height, weight, size that you're looking for. But that intangible, his heart, sometimes that position, talent is not enough. As we've seen there have been a number of quarterbacks drafted in the first round or first pick in the draft who don't turn out to be successful. Usually, it's not because of their talent. They were selected as high as they were because they had the talent. But those intangibles sometimes determines whether or not a quarterback, or a defensive back or a defensive lineman makes it in our league."
Q. Does this year’s first-round pick need to be a guy that plays immediately?
A. “We have not just one need that we want to fill but we have a number of needs we’d like to address in this draft. We’re not at a point where our roster is set at all 22 positions and it’s going to be hard for a guy to play. We’ve got some spots where we’re hoping that that first-round pick, that second-round pick, fourth-round … we’re hoping that every guy that we draft competes for a starting position. Nothing is etched in stone for our returning players. The guys that we draft, we’re hoping that they are going to come in and compete to start.”
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