Coach Leslie Frazier stepped out of his truck and into his first news conference of the summer on Thursday in Mankato.

Jerry Holt, Star Tribune


Frazier's goal: 'To improve across the board'

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • July 26, 2012 - 9:34 PM

MANKATO - Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made it a mere eight minutes into his first news conference of training camp before being confronted with the "P" word ... as in playoffs ... for a team that went 3-13 and is riding an 11-game losing streak within its division.

Asked if it's realistic for him to project a goal of making the playoffs when he talks to the team on the eve of Friday's first day of training camp, Frazier stood behind the players -- including quarterback Christian Ponder -- who said this offseason that making the playoffs is a realistic goal.

"In the NFL today, I don't know that you want to count yourself out of any situation," Frazier said after checking in at Gage Hall on the campus of Minnesota State University. "This is a very fluid league in the way things are. I mean the teams that are sometimes favorites don't always end up being the favorite at the end of the year. Or the teams that are counted out are sometimes the teams that flip the script a little bit or end up in places that most people didn't expect at the beginning of the season.

"That's not to say that's going to be us. Our goal is to come down here to Mankato and try to continue to improve across the board. If we make the necessary improvements and come together as a team, we feel our chances are as good as anybody's."

Dealing with suspension

Receiver Jerome Simpson, projected to be the team's No. 1 receiver and much-needed deep threat that's been sorely lacking the past two seasons, will be heavily involved in the offense despite the fact he must serve a three-game league-imposed suspension to start the regular season.

"Early on, we're going to keep him in and let him take reps," Frazier said. "But at some point we're going to have to pare it back. We aren't going to have to have him in those first three games. So we're going to have to start getting ready the guys who are going to play in those three games. But early on, we want to make sure he has a good grasp of our offense and what we want to do."

So who will be the guy who steps in for Simpson for those first three games?

"I don't know if there's any one guy that we can point to right now," Frazier said. "There's going to be competition. There would be competition even if we knew Jerome was going to play in that first game. Devin Aromashodu will have a chance, [Greg] Childs will have a chance. Brian [Walters] will have a chance."

Simpson said there can be an advantage to missing the first three games of the season. "I'll be fresh coming back after those first three games," he said. "Some of the guys, they'll be banged up and have injuries, so I can use that to my advantage."

Charge no worry to Peterson

Adrian Peterson remains optimistic that his charge of resisting arrest will be dismissed before he is required to face the charge in court in Houston on Aug. 6.

The Vikings running back also seems unconcerned about the whole situation, describing his handling of it as "pretty laid back, to be honest."

"I haven't lost any sleep or anything over it," he said. "I know in due time things will get handled and justice will be served. It was an unfortunate situation. I feel like everything will get worked out."

Asked what his confidence level is that he will be exonerated, he referred to a comment he made earlier this month.

"To repeat, 200 percent," Peterson said. "I'm confident. Wrong is wrong and right is right. I did nothing wrong in this situation, and ultimately that will be shown."

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