Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Spielman: `Leslie Frazier is not going anywhere'

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: November 1, 2013 - 5:08 PM

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman met with the beat writers who cover the team earlier this afternoon. Here are the highlights:

Highlights from opening statement:

"... I can tell you this: There is no divide. Everybody is working as hard as they can together. Everybody is very supportive of each other. Everybody is pushing to the limits to try to get this turned around. But I'm also very, very optimistic that this thing can turn around and turn around quickly, just because I see behind the scenes how hard everybody's working, from the players, from the coaches, from myself. Everybody's trying to get better, to get this season turned around as quickly as we can."

On coach Leslie Frazier's job security:

"Leslie Frazier is our football coach and we are 100 percent behind Leslie and his coaching staff. And we’re 100 percent behind our players."

On whether his job is safe for the rest of this season:

"Leslie Frazier is not going anywhere. I am telling you that we are very committed to Leslie Frazier and this coaching staff. And we’re committed to our players, and everybody is working extremely hard to get this thing turned around."

More on whether Frazier still has support from Spielman and ownership:

"Our focus is on getting this turned around, on getting this changed from our organzition ownership on down. We back coach Frazier 100 percent and we'll do everything we can to to help him get this thing turned around."

On why he signed quarterback Josh Freeman if Freeman isn't going to  during the season:

"The reason to  bring in Josh Freeman is, when I looked the situation, can we add a guy that would improve our 53? I understand the situation because of the sensitivity because it’s a quarterback position. But I also understand that if there is a player – and this was a unique situation that does not happen every year. Believe me, there were more teams than just us involved in this. I felt that it was an opportunity to take a look at a young quarterback, whether he played or didn’t play -- that’s the coaches decision -- but for us to get an evaluation on a player for the next 12 weeks since he’s been in here. You rarely get an opportunity to do that.

Everybody is looking for the franchise quarterback. If you’re not out there always looking and trying to find until you actually find a Peyton Manning, then I feel you’re not doing your job. Our job is to be aggressive, to try and get that position solidified. Does that mean that Christian Ponder is not that? I’m not saying that whatsoever. Is there a reason why we brought in Matt Cassel? There was a definite reason why we brought in Matt Cassel and the value he brings this organization. This was a unique situation that I felt was too good to pass up. Now, where we’re at with our quarterbacks will be determined at the end of the season. Now that we have the ability to look at all three of those, how the coaches handle who’s playing and not playing, who’s the backup and not the backup, I’m 100 percent whatever they decided to do. But I know by the end of the year we should definitely have idea on what direction if we have a franchise quarterback on this roster right now, or do we have to go into the draft potentially and look for a franchise quarterback, or where do we go at the end of the season?

On whether he can determine if Freeman is a `franchise quarterback' if he sits the rest of the year:

"I believe you can because they’re with him in meetings. They’re with him at walkthroughs. We’re out there watching him at practice. They’re watching his work ethic. They’re watching him interact with the trainers. All the unique things that you couldn’t do, let’s say, if you waited until the end of the season and then tried to go out and sign a quarterback or any other position. This was just a great chance, whether he played or not, that you would have a much better idea of what a Josh Freeman was or whoever that is by the end of the season just by him being in your building and being around that player for 12 weeks."

On spending $2 million on Freeman if he doesn't play again this season:

"If that helps us make a decision on who’s our quarterback going forward, it’s well worth it."

On whether he considered releasing cornerback Antoine Winfield a risk before the season:


“Antoine, he was an aging vet and we had a couple of guys that if you look at our roster and the guys that are in their 30s, you can only have so many. It’s unlike you can’t have back in the ’85 Bears and have 22 guys that are veterans back there. It just doesn’t work anymore.  It doesn’t work in the CBA, it doesn’t work in the cap era. So, those are the decisions that you make when you sit with your personnel staff, when you sit with your coaching staff and lay out all the options out there. OK, how strongly do we feel about this guy if this guy’s not here? Or who is more important, this vet or this vet? So those are all the decisions, all the conversations that you have when you go in to trying to make the best decisions you can from a personnel standpoint going forward.”

On why he has optimism during a 1-6 start:



"Just because what I see what's going on in this building right now. Not that there's not a sense of urgency. If you look at our season so far, a couple games early we should have easily won if you make a play here or there, or do this here or there, those could have been easy victories. And then you go over to London and you have a real solid victory, to go overseas and play...Pittsburgh was struggling at the time but still a very good football team. And then we came back we haven't played as well. Everybody's trying to figure out how to get this turned around and get back to where you could win some ballgames. I just see how hard the coaches are working at night, the players are doing extra, there's always a sense of urgency but guys really care and everybody's sticking together. That's what gives you the optimism that we're going to fight through this and get through this. You read about or see some places where you are struggling and then there's all of a sudden some divide. If anything, this has brought us closer together as an organization to get through this and get this turned around as quickly as we can."



Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60


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