Vikings coach Leslie Frazier took great pride in Sunday’s win over Detroit for its many ramifications. For starters, the Vikings improved to 2-0 in NFC North games after they lost 11 of 12 division contests in 2010 and 2011. On top of that, Sunday’s win gave the Vikings a 5-1 record at Mall of America Field this season. Best of all, it calmed the team down as the Vikings improved to 6-4 overall, heading into the bye on a high week rather than fretting over a three-game losing streak.
“We had some goals and we're still in the position to achieve those goals,” Frazier said. “And that was the whole point: Getting to this bye in a position where we could still control our own destiny. For our team, that's exactly the way it is.”
So is Frazier ready to classify his team as playoff contenders as they head toward Thanksgiving right in the thick of things in the NFC?
"The one thing we try to do early on was articulate what our goals were as a football team,” the head coach said. “We did that back in training camp - these are what our goals are and we talked about that. We haven't deviated from that. That being said, in our league it's always about one game at a time and the most important game for us is our game about a week from now against Chicago.”
In other highlights from Frazier’s weekly press conference …
- Here were Frazier’s thoughts on the MVP candidacy of All-World running back Adrian Peterson, who now has an NFL-best 1,128 rushing yards: “We do have a lot of football to be played, but if you ask me today -- and I haven't seen all the guys around the league -- but it's hard for me to imagine a guy doing more for his football team than what Adrian has done for our team. And the fact that he has been so dominant over the course of the season. He's pulling away with his domination as a runner. His impact has been huge for us. It's hard to imagine another guy having a greater impact on their team, considering where we are and what we have to do every single week to win.”
- Frazier seemed most impressed with the overall poise second-year quarterback Christian Ponder showed, once again playing a measured game with few mistakes after a three-week slump that had outside critics growing more vocal. Said Frazier: “[It was impressive] just seeing him move around in the pocket and deliver the ball with so much conviction. And to go through his reads and not once the guy has taken away his first read feel like, 'I have to take off.' But some of the throws he made were just, this is what you want to see out of your quarterback. It raises everybody else's confidence level.”
- The Vikings coach was also pleased with the versatility the offense showed with 10 different players catching passes and the Vikings passing for 214 net yards and rushing for 189 on their way to their third 400-yard output this season. That eruption came against a pretty good defense with top receiver Percy Harvin out for the first time all year with a sprained ankle. “We felt like we had become a little stagnant and predictable in some ways,” Frazier said. “We needed Christian to understand the importance of moving [the ball] to different people because of what defenses are doing. So it was not so much because of Percy's absence. It was something we were emphasizing all throughout, and we're going to continue to emphasize it the rest of this season.”
- Frazier was complimentary of defensive tackle Fred Evans, who started in place of Letroy Guion and aided a resurgence by the run defense. Detroit rushed for only 60 yards on 17 carries with Evans playing 59 percent of the defensive snaps and contributing three tackles, including one for loss. That said, Frazier noted that Guion will return to starting as soon as he’s back to full health from the turf toe injury that sidelined him Sunday.