Leslie Frazier: All about 'the big picture'

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 18, 2012 - 9:55 AM
hide

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings are enjoying the weekend off and regrouping on the final day of their bye week. They're off to a surprising 6-4 start and, if all breaks right, could be playing their next game in Chicago with first place in the NFC North on the line. This past week, Vikings beat writer Dan Wiederer sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with coach Leslie Frazier. Here are excerpts from that discussion:

Q You've brought up April 23 many times this season, the first day that players could be back at the facility for offseason conditioning and training. What stuck out to you that day?

A The attendance. In all my time in Minnesota, we never had anywhere near the type of attendance that we had when we started up this year. And that was something I had challenged our guys with at the end of our 2011 season. I met with each one of them individually right here in my office before they went their different ways for the offseason. We talked extensively about coming back if they were serious about getting this thing turned in the right direction. And when more than 90 percent of our team showed up, I said to myself, "Wow. This is big. We've got a chance."

 

Q So you hit a skid a few weeks back. That Thursday nighter against Tampa Bay was certainly a sobering loss. Then you go to Seattle, another double-digit loss. For you, what was the sense on how to make sure a collapse didn't occur?

A I had to keep reminding them how long the season is. Teams go through stretches like that. It just so happens ours came in the middle of the season. ... We had to find out what we did wrong, fix it and then concentrate on this particular game. In our case, that was Detroit. ... I told our veteran guys that we've seen it, where you go into a spiral and you can't get out of it. So I had to get our guys to a point of, "See the big picture. Your goals are still within your grasp. But we've got to take care of business at home against Detroit." And they bought into it.

 

Q Coming into this season, you turn the huddle over to a 24-year-old quarterback [Christian Ponder] with 10 NFL starts. How as a head coach do you prepare yourself to be patient?

A Going in knowing there were going to be moments where Christian would struggle, I always believed that we had to do some extra things around him to help him. Because there are going to be days where he's not going to be on point. ... So the greatest challenge I've had is with our staff and with our players to make them realize that this is a team game. It's not about one player. Even though they may hear people criticizing the quarterback, we can do some things around him to help him and support him. And if they understand that component of it, then they'll never just point the finger at him and say this is all about him. It's about us.

 

Q How do you get Christian to buy into that patience?

A I try to encourage him and let him know up front that even though you may hear different people saying things, until you hear me come over and say, "Christian, you're not the guy" or whatever, block that stuff out. I reminded him that when we drafted him in April of 2011, I told him this. I said: "Remember, you sat here in my office after we brought you in town and did our press conference, I told you you were going to be the guy who leads us to a championship in Minnesota. That hasn't changed. Your mind can't ever get off of that."

 

Q It's amazing to see where Adrian [Peterson] is at through 10 games. You mentioned this past week being struck by his humility more than anything else. What stands out?

A Just seeing how he's responded this season to his success, this is not about him. He's not around pumping his chest and saying, "Look what I did." He's all about winning. ... I've been around a lot of talented guys. For most of them, it's a whole lot more about their stats. Even when you lose the game, they're griping. "I didn't get enough throws. I didn't get enough carries." Not Adrian. If we don't win, the first person he looks at his himself. I've never heard him say, "This guy should have done that. That guy should have done this." He's saying, "Man, what could I have done better to help us win?" ... You get 53 guys thinking like that? You've got a special team.

 

Q What's impressed you the most this season with the evolution of Percy Harvin as a player?

A He's stepping back and seeing a bigger picture where it's not just about "me" anymore, it's about winning in this league. Because when you win, all those accolades and dreams and goals you have will come. But when you're on a losing team even with big numbers, it's never any fun. So he's gotten to that point now where being a good teammate and winning has become more important than the personal goals.

 

Q Obviously that episode in Seattle where he was animated on the sideline and barking in your ear was well-publicized. I'm sure behind the scenes, you discussed with him the manner in which that was handled, right?

A No question. He and I did talk about it. Percy's a competitive guy like so many of our guys. And he's not the only guy who wants to vent and speak out about a situation. But other guys find the right forum. So that's what we talked about. ... And he understands that. Which is another sign of his growing up. He said, "Ya know what? You're right. I need to handle that differently going forward." ... When you've been through this as a player and a coach, I've been blessed to be around some very competitive people. And you know it's well-intentioned. I know it's not going to look good publicly. I know people will look at it and judge it. But what's most important is I know the person, I know his heart, I know what he stands for. That's all that really matters to me. And whatever way people judge it, we have to deal with it.

Q You talk a lot about seeing the big picture of a season but then also being able to have that micro-focus on the next game. How do you retain a balance?

A That's where I come into play as the head coach. To bring everything back into focus. Even though I'll talk to the guys on Monday about where we are at this juncture of the season, I'll have to bring it back to the focus on the Chicago Bears. And get our guys to concentrate on that and that alone. That's a part of sitting in this seat where you have to be able to bring that big picture focus back to that moment. That's exactly what we had to do going into our game against Detroit. Same thing here.

To read the entire transcript, go to startribune.com/vikings.

  • VIKINGS BYE WEEK

    Next Sunday: Noon at Chicago • TV: Ch. 9

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close