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Excerpts from Mark Craig's Live Chat

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • September 17, 2013 - 9:35 PM

Vikings beat writers conduct a Live Chat every Tuesday at startribune.com. Here are edited excerpts of Tuesday’s session with Mark Craig:

Q: Why does offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave keep calling rollouts to the left? Those are tough for good quarterbacks, let alone one who struggles with accuracy.

A: I don’t like the rollouts to the left either. Ponder consistently looks uncomfortable trying to throw going that way. He needs all he can get to make him more comfortable.

Q: When the Vikes drafted Christian Ponder, was that primarily a Rick Spielman pick? Or was everybody really on board with the selection?

A: Everyone was on board. It was time to commit to a quarterback. In hindsight, obviously, they should have committed to a guy named C. Kaepernick. But I can’t fault the Vikings for that. The entire first round passed before Kaepernick was picked.

Q: Do you have any early predictions as to who the Vikes will want to re-sign out of Jared Allen, Everson Griffen and Brian Robison? Depending on how the year plays out of course, would Allen be the type to accept a lesser deal than he could get on the open market to stay with Minnesota?

A: I think Griffen will be the priority based on age. Sorry, but I don’t think Jared will be giving any Purple discounts if he has a big season. Nor should he. It will be interesting to see what the market will be for him given his age.

Q: Why don’t the Vikings use more quick pitches or shovel passes to AP instead of basic handoffs constantly.

A: Peterson doesn’t have the greatest hands. That could be the reason. But I can give you 2,097 reasons why what they did last year worked.

Q: Is Frazier a solid NFL caliber coach? If he were to be let go by the Vikes, would he get attention from other clubs as a head coach?

A: Yes. Leslie has had a calming influence that has helped this team time and again. A year ago, when they were 6-6, his steady influence was a key factor in winning four tough games in a row to make the playoffs. Players respect him and play hard for him.

Q: Was Blair Walsh just unable to kick the ball out of the end zone against Chicago? Two-hundred-forty-nine return yards for Devin Hester, not good.

A: Poor footing, rain and some wind kept the ball from being booted out of the end zone. I would suspect Blair will be reaching the stands on kickoffs this weekend.

Q: Was Frazier trying to play the good coach by not calling out his defensive coordinator, but privately livid about Alan Williams’ calls or whatever that transpired on the final drive?

A: Leslie was playing the role of a good leader. He was saying there were things he could have done better. I don’t think he was livid at all with Williams’ calls. I think he wishes he could have helped get the players lined up better. Probably regrets not taking a timeout when things went haywire before that last snap.

Q: Really impressed with the ability of Greg Jennings to catch and hold on to the ball while getting crushed. Any chance we can target our new acquisition more in the coming weeks??

A: That was a fantastic catch and showed that Ponder is developing some trust in Jennings. What’s most puzzling to me about Christian is he can make that throw, but then come back and have a short pass to an open receiver sail on him. He says it’s footwork that’s a big part of the problem. If so, he needs to fix it.

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