NFL considering change to replay system

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 27, 2012 - 6:41 AM
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Leslie Frazier walks with Minnesota Viking' s Owner Zygi Wilf

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - Of the myriad rules changes that will be voted on at the NFL owners meetings Wednesday, two involving instant replay seem to be gathering heavy support. One change would put the verdict of all replay reviews into the hands of the booth official rather than the on-field referee.

Another would mandate that all turnovers be reviewed without requiring a coach's challenge. That edict was adopted for all scoring plays last year. And needless to say, coaches, including the Vikings' Leslie Frazier, favors any potential to save challenges.

"Sometimes you don't get the right view," Frazier said. "You can't make a decision and your stuck. So for crucial plays like turnovers, it's good they're going to automatically take that up to the booth."

Added Rich McKay, the NFL's chairman of the competition committee: "We actually think it may end up being something that could save time, not cost time. No question, more turnovers would potentially be reviewed. But we would not ever have the situation where we have a turnover, we go to timeout, we come back, the team comes to the line of scrimmage and then the coach challenges. That is the ultimate delay."

A perfect 10

On Monday, the Vikings officially were awarded two compensatory fourth-round picks for next month's draft, the result of last season's free-agent comings and goings. Last summer, the franchise lost four key players: Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice to Seattle, Ray Edwards to Atlanta and Ben Leber to St. Louis. The Vikings picked up only two notable free agents -- Charlie Johnson and Remi Ayodele.

The additional picks gained Monday will be the 128th and 134th selections overall, now giving the Vikings 10 picks.

An added dimension

Frazier is intrigued by the versatility of recently acquired offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, whom the Vikings expect to use at guard first and foremost. But if help is needed at tackle as well, Schwartz has the ability to do so.

"Knowing he has that position flexibility and can be a swing guy for us, that was the thing that was most enticing for us," Frazier said. "We want him to compete for a starting job."

Schwartz will enter a mix at guard that includes Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco and possibly Johnson -- if the Vikings ultimately decide to slide him inside from left tackle.

The waiting game

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered no timetable for when he expects to levy punishment to the approximately two dozen players implicated in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Goodell said he hopes to react "as soon as is reasonable" but is waiting for an initial recommendation from the NFL Players Association.

Still, last week's severe punishment of Saints coach Sean Payton (suspended for a year), General Manager Mickey Loomis (suspended eight games) and assistant coach Joe Vitt (suspended six games) certainly sent a strong message.

Said Frazier: "The league is truly concerned about player safety. We've been hearing that heavy emphasis for the last couple years. No doubt, the message is clear now. Player safety is paramount over all else. That's the way it should be, especially in a matter like this."

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