Back to school: A trial run for adjusted Vikings staff

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 23, 2012 - 11:21 PM

Leslie Frazier sees the Senior Bowl as a chance to get his defensive coaches comfortable in new roles.

The Senior Bowl will provide a chance for Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to observe his new staff, including new defensive coordinator Alan Williams (right).

Photo: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MOBILE, ALA. - Standing just in front of the south end zone at Ladd Peebles Stadium on Monday afternoon, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier showcased that familiar pose: left arm wrapped across his chest, right hand resting on his chin and eyes surveying all the action unfolding in front of him.

During the first official Senior Bowl practice, Frazier had plenty to observe. Yes, there were the 52 players assigned to his North team for the week, all looking to improve their stock as NFL prospects. Yet the Vikings coach also had great interest in watching his recently modified coaching staff in action, with Fred Pagac and Mike Singletary now sharing work with the linebackers, Brendan Daly breathing fire among the defensive linemen and new coordinator Alan Williams overseeing the entire defense.

Consider this week a trial run for what's ahead. Oh, and just to make it perfectly clear, Frazier is excited about the new coaching setup and even more giddy about what this week offers as the Vikings attempt to bury last season's 3-13 misery and plant the seeds for a 2012 rebirth.

"This is beautiful," Frazier said. "I'm telling you, this is a blessing to be able to do this. Because it gives us a head start on 2012. That extra minicamp we didn't have a year ago, this is it. This is big for our staff, big for our coaches. It kind of helps put the bad taste of 2011 out of your mind for a little bit. Because we have to be so focused on what we need to get done here."

Frazier has made it perfectly clear, both with his rhetoric and with his recent coaching changes, that improving the defense is a top priority. On Monday, he revealed that Pagac will now take the lead in coaching the linebackers with Singletary chiming in some but also serving in his assistant head coaching role, a role in which he can help Frazier with other big picture matters.

Frazier remains reluctant to specify the reasons for Pagac's demotion, a move he called "a hard, hard deal."

"This is the decision that was made. And I asked him to accept it, which is hard to do," Frazier said. "I didn't want him to leave. But I understood if he had told me, 'I can't take it. I want to leave.' But he didn't say that. He decided he wanted to stay on the staff and help our football team in 2012."

This week's workshop in Alabama certainly helps to quell any potential awkwardness on the Vikings staff, with all of the coaches settling into their new roles and establishing new dynamics.

For Williams, who spent 10 years in Indianapolis coaching defensive backs, the leap to become a coordinator for the first time will come with many challenges.

Frazier remembers when he made the leap in 2003 with the Bengals, pointing out that he had to make strides in learning how to communicate effectively with an entire defense.

On Monday, Frazier reaffirmed his intention to be very hands-on with the defense in the immediate future, vowing to set a tone and establish clear expectations for how he wants things to evolve. That said, he's promising not to usurp Williams' authority, wanting the new coordinator to establish his voice in his new surroundings.

"One of the things I talked to Alan about was don't just look at our defense and say, 'OK they've played some good defense in the past. So let's just stay with what they've done,' " Frazier said. "I told him, 'Go in, bring some of your own ideas. Whatever changes you think are necessary to make, make those changes. Everybody will get on board.

"Whether it be the language, whether it be the scheme. Whatever it is, just peel it back and figure out what you think is going to be best for us and we'll talk it through and just see if we can get the personnel to make it work."

  • VIKINGS AT THE SENIOR BOWL

    3 p.m. Saturday • Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala. • TV: NFL Network

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - J. Danks 12:05 PM
Cleveland - T. Bauer
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 12:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Miami - B. Hand 12:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Washington - T. Roark 12:35 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Toronto - R. Dickey 12:40 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Price
St. Louis - C. Martinez 1:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
Boston - C. Buchholz 1:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Detroit - J. Verlander 1:10 PM
Kansas City - B. Chen
Atlanta - J. Teheran 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
LA Angels - T. Skaggs 2:05 PM
Texas - S. Baker
Arizona - V. Nuno 3:05 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
San Diego - T. Ross 3:10 PM
Los Angeles - H. Ryu
Minnesota - P. Hughes 3:10 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Oakland - S. Gray 3:10 PM
Seattle - C. Young
NY Yankees - C. Whitley 7:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Portland 9:00 PM
Seattle
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 26 FINAL
Saskatchewan 13
Los Angeles 12:00 PM
Connecticut
Seattle 2:00 PM
Minnesota
San Antonio 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Chicago 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close