The Vikings held their annual playground build at Northport Elementary School in Brooklyn Center today. This is always a big event for the organization, but today had a different feel because the players were not involved because of the ongoing NFL lockout.
Vikings players technically could have participated but the organization could not contact them to give details so it wasn't surprising that players were not involved.
We had a chance to talk to Coach Leslie Frazier during the event and he touched on a number of topics:
-- Frazier said the team is still discussing whether to sign a veteran a quarterback to bridge the gap for Christian Ponder. The lockout has cost teams OTAs and minicamps, which is critical work in the development of young players, especially quarterbacks.
"It’s created more discussion amongst us," Frazier said. "We had an idea back in April what direction we wanted to go. In May we thought about some things. Now we’re into June and we’re still discussing what’s the best option for us and for our quarterbacks. What you don’t want to do is put a guy in harm’s way to the point where his confidence is affected for the future. We’ve got some different things we’ve got to talk through and figure out based on when we start football."
Frazier, however, made it clear that if the team signs a veteran quarterback, that guy has to understand the situation and his role.
"In our situation if we were to go that route to bring a veteran in, whatever time that would be, that veteran has to understand how important the chemistry of it is because eventually either Joe [Webb] or Christian is going to be our long-term answer," he said. "So it would have to be the right veteran. It goes beyond just knowing the system and playing in the National Football League because you’re trying to build the right locker room also. There are more dynamics involved than just a fact he’s a veteran quarterback."
-- Frazier joined a number of other head coaches in saying he does not support a brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals several weeks ago expressing support for the players in the labor battle.
"We weren’t contacted by the coaches association," Frazier said. "We’re going to always be supportive of our management. We’ve got great management here in Minnesota. The Wilf family has been terrific to our employees. But no we were not contacted by the coaches association regarding that brief."
Frazier was asked his reaction when he heard about the brief.
"A little surprised, just wondering how that came about," he said. "And wondering why our team wasn’t contacted and just how many teams were contacted. But it really doesn’t in a lot of ways pertain to us because we had no say in it as a staff."
-- Frazier said he hopes veteran nose tackle Pat Williams returns next season. Williams, a free agent, recently said it's "50-50" whether he will return to the Vikings.
"I have great respect for Pat," he said. "I love Pat. He’s been great for my career as a defensive coordinator. You guys know what he’s like in the locker room. He’s a tremendous guy in that regard, a great leader for us. I hope that if he does decide that he definitely wants to play again that it ends up being in Minnesota. I’d love to see him retire as a Viking as opposed to somewhere else."
We'll have more from Frazier online and in the paper later. Have a great weekend.