For Vikings, focus is on focus

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 28, 2012 - 9:10 AM

A refreshing lack of distractions helped the first day of preparing for a turnaround season.

MANKATO - As the Vikings' first training camp walkthrough began Friday at Minnesota State Mankato, General Manager Rick Spielman stood off to the side, turning away from the practice field briefly to take a call on his cell phone.

NFL sources have confirmed that it was not legendary quarterback Brett Favre on the other line. So that potential soap opera won't be an issue this summer. Which is nice.

And yes, we're kidding. But with the first day of Vikings practice in the books, perhaps the biggest news so far is that there isn't much major news to share.

With the exception of Adrian Peterson officially being tagged as "Physically Unable to Perform" -- as expected -- and Percy Harvin confirming that, indeed, his spirits are in a good place, Friday was a quiet day in Mankato.

And that's exactly how coach Leslie Frazier hopes to keep it.

If the Vikings are to make significant strides in 2012, they will have little margin for error and no time for distractions. Which is why Frazier felt so ecstatic Thursday when Matt Kalil's contract was finalized, allowing the rookie left tackle to report to camp on time. Another potential headache had been avoided.

"Once that was done, there was a loud shout from me," Frazier said Friday. "We needed everyone in that room [Thursday] night to hear the message that we wanted to get across to the team as opposed to getting it secondhand."

At the first camp meeting, Frazier commanded his players to avoid potential off-the-field incidents that could embarrass the franchise. Six Vikings (Rhett Bomar, Tyrell Johnson, Chris Cook, Caleb King, Jerome Felton and Adrian Peterson) have been arrested since training camp convened in 2011.

"I did get into conduct maybe a little bit more that I might have a year ago, maybe," Frazier said. "But for myriad reasons, that's the right thing to do."

Still, the Vikings coach also encouraged players to establish internal expectations with blinders on to what's being projected on the outside. At present, it's nearly impossible to find a single expert who has the Vikings anywhere near the playoff picture.

Frazier couldn't care less.

"One of the things I told our team is you really can't get caught up in what people are writing or saying or blogging," he said. "In our minds what's most important is what the people in [our] room believe. ... If you don't believe we have a chance to compete in our division, or win our division, why are we even showing up in Mankato? Why are we even going through the drills that we have to go through?"

For a team that lost 13 times a year ago, quickly went into rebuilding mode and now has 40 players on the roster who had no affiliation with last year's team, the climb is steep. The hope is to use these three weeks to build chemistry and momentum.

"We're going to learn who's mentally tough enough to make it," defensive end Jared Allen said. "That's really what training camp is about. It's to weed out the guys who aren't going to be able to make it 16 weeks. You learn a lot about guys -- who's dependable, people's work ethic. And who's going to fit amongst the core. We still have a decent core on this team."

Allen is right on that and also right to acknowledge that his window of opportunity to chase a Super Bowl is closing.

So in order to move back toward respectability, the Vikings' leaders understand they cannot have their energy or attention diverted to side dramas.

That message has certainly been made clear to Harvin, the lightning rod for the only potential camp controversy to date.

Yet after publicly expressing his unhappiness at minicamp last month, Harvin left Friday's walkthrough with a huge smile, insisting once again he is merry and focused.

"I'm ready to get out there, start sweating and get this thing moving," Harvin said.

That fizzle you might have heard? That was a potential fire of controversy being reduced to a minimal crackle. And that's a soundtrack the mild-mannered Frazier enjoys.

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit 5 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 17
Miami 7 Top 9th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 2 Top 6th Inning
Oakland 2
NY Mets 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 3rd Qtr
Seattle 31
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 64 4th Qtr 4:30
Phoenix 63

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