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Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier during practice.

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Frazier excited about progress, unconcerned about extension

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and DAN WIEDERER
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • January 8, 2013 - 10:51 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier obviously was disappointed to see the season end in the first round of the playoffs with a 24-10 loss to Green Bay, but was encouraged by the team's regular-season performance.

"The foundation has really been set for our team without question," Frazier said. "Our core identity showed up. The traits that we talked about throughout the year, about being a tough, smart, disciplined football team were exemplified through this group of young men."

Frazier, whose contract expires after next season, is expected to receive an extension soon from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. Asked if he's talked to ownership about a contract extension, Frazier said: "I haven't had a chance to talk with them at this point. These last 48 hours in the building have been meeting with players and talking with them about the future and so on, and some other things in their lives. But eventually we will talk and I'm not worried about it. Things will work out just fine. Not worried at all."

Asked if his agent, Bob Lamonte, has spoken with ownership, Frazier said: "Not at this point. But we will have those discussions.

"I've been told a number of times from Mark and Zygi and [general manager] Rick [Spielman] they are pleased with the job we've done this season a number of times. I'm very appreciative of their support throughout the year. Very appreciative."

Just a scare

A little more than 3 minutes remained in the third quarter Saturday when Vikings safety Harrison Smith delivered a tackle on Packers running back DuJuan Harris and immediately began writhing in agony. The Vikings already trailed 24-3, and the last thing they needed was to see one of their key starters lost to a serious injury.

Not to worry: Smith was only cramping.

While his pain seemed to be severe -- so much so that concerned Packers players immediately began calling for the Vikings medical staff to come over -- Smith just needed the cramp in his left leg to be worked out.

"I just couldn't really feel anything going on," Smith said.

He returned to action not much later.

Smith's emergence this season was one of the most significant bright spots for a Vikings team that improved from 3-13 to 10-6. The rookie was a playmaker all season and had two interception returns for TDs.

On Monday, as he cleaned out his locker for the offseason, Smith was asked whether he ever ran into the proverbial "rookie wall."

"I think I kind of kept thinking that I have got to get through the regular season," Smith said. "I've got to make sure my body's all right, that I can last. That was hard.

"And then the playoffs come around. And it's like, 'Wow, we have another possible however many games.' So staying on top of your body and getting back and staying on top of your mind, mentally energizing every week is a lot harder to do than you think it would be."

Etc.

• Punter Chris Kluwe, who spent several weeks on the injury report with a left knee injury, will have surgery to repair the meniscus, Frazier said.

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