For Vikings braintrust, hot topics are off limits

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2011 - 10:02 AM

The lockout bars coach Leslie Frazier from meeting with Chris Cook about his gun case or Adrian Peterson regarding his slavery comments.

 

NEW ORLEANS - Under ordinary circumstances, Leslie Frazier would have quickly talked to Chris Cook after the cornerback was charged with a gun misdemeanor last week in Virginia. And Frazier certainly would have had a discussion with Adrian Peterson after the running back compared the NFL's current player-owner situation to "modern-day slavery."

Frazier doesn't have the freedom to talk to any of his players right now because of the NFL lockout -- the issue that upset Peterson enough to make those comments. Frazier admits that makes it tough to collect all the facts on many matters.

"Adrian is a great kid, as you guys know," Frazier said Sunday after arriving at the Roosevelt Hotel for NFL meetings that will be held the next two days. "This is a time where not being able to communicate with the players -- it's hard to form an opinion. ... So, you kind of reserve judgment on everything that you see right now ... all the information that you're getting is through the media."

These are strange times for everyone in the NFL as the league endures its first work stoppage since 1987. With labor negotiations having broken off more than a week ago, the expectation is the next move will be an April 6 court hearing in St. Paul on the players' motion for a temporary injunction.

Frazier and Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman both attempted to dismiss any talk that it's not business as usual at Winter Park. Frazier points to the fact the Vikings are going through their normal preparations for next month's draft and said the only real difference is that strength and conditioning coach Tom Kanavy can't work with players.

That's true to a degree, but the fact is free agency has been put on hold and there appears a real possibility the draft will be held first. That's backward to how the league has operated for many years. "The thing about it is everyone is operating under the same rules," Frazier said. "So it really it doesn't [impact us] as much as it would if certain teams were able to do certain things we couldn't do."

One area where Frazier stands to be affected is the potential loss of not one but two mandatory minicamps he is allowed because he's a first-year coach with the Vikings. Frazier wants to have the first minicamp the week before the draft, which will begin on April 28.

"I've been thinking about that," he said, acknowledging there could be a concern about conditioning if the work stoppage ends just before the camp. "We're fast approaching the point where I have to make a decision. I guess you kind of have to wait to see what the parameters are and when April 6 comes, what comes out of that. [I've] got some ideas, but it can't be concrete because I have no idea."

Vikings President Mark Wilf declined to comment Sunday when asked about the labor situation; owner Zygi Wilf was expected to arrive later Sunday.

Frazier did say that before the lockout began he called some players he didn't want to name to offer a friendly reminder about staying away from trouble. "Certain guys that I said, 'Hey, be conscious of what's going to happen after March 3,' " Frazier said. "At the time I think it was, the fact that we can't communicate anymore. So be on your P's and Q's."

Etc.

• Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is scheduled to visit the Vikings in April, according to the National Football Post. That is no surprise given the team continues to take a close look at all the top quarterbacks in next month's draft.

Asked if he had become enamored with any specific quarterbacks, Frazier said: "I'm trying to be open minded until we finish some of these private workouts, but it's hard not to when you watch a certain tape and go, 'Oh man, this is the guy.' Then you put on another tape and go, 'Wait a minute. This guy ...' So you have to be a little careful and just go through the process. But each one of them, they all have good qualities of some type."

• Spielman confirmed team officials had dinner with Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert after attending his Pro Day last week.

• The Vikings will hold their annual dinner in April for 30 draft prospects at Winter Park. The team elects to do this rather than bring in players one at a time.

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