Vikings coach Leslie Frazier spoke up for his importance in shaping the future of the franchise when asked whether he feels the youth movement being orchestrated by new General Manager Rick Spielman puts the head coach in danger of not being able to win enough games to keep his job beyond 2012.
"When we're building a team, it's we. It's not Rick," Frazier said Wednesday after the team's second day of organized team activities practices. "Rick could not build this team without the head coach being in concert with him in doing that. That wouldn't be good for he or I."
Frazier is entering the second year of a three-year deal. It's also the final year that the team has to pay former coach Brad Childress. Frazier has a 6-16 record, resides in the NFL's toughest division (NFC North) and is leading a team that's universally considered at least a year away from contending. He'll have a second-year quarterback, three new starters on the offensive line, possibly two rookie starters at safety, new faces at nose tackle and middle linebacker, and a rookie kicker who missed 14 of 35 kicks at Georgia last year.
Still, Frazier said he participated fully with Spielman in the decisions to let go of several veterans, including reliable kicker Ryan Longwell.
"There isn't a decision that's made that the two of us don't talk about and agree upon," Frazier said. "It would just not be good. So the decisions that have been made are decisions that were discussed and we were in agreement that this is the right thing to do. It's hard to build a team if the general manager and the head coach aren't on the same page. And we are, thank goodness."
It was tough to say who worked harder at Winter Park -- the players in uniform or the two injured guys racing repeatedly to the top of the steep hill near the practice fields.
The two injured guys -- running back Adrian Peterson and receiver Percy Harvin -- didn't look quite so injured based on how they ran up the hill. Peterson continues to be ahead of schedule following late December surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Harvin recently had minor shoulder surgery. He has full strength back but is being held out of the early OTAs as a precaution.
Peterson has been in town rehabbing his knee. Harvin arrived Monday night, earning a pile of credit from teammates and coaches impressed that he decided to show up for the voluntary workouts.
"If I remember correct, I told you guys [media] last year at the end of the season that I was going to make it a point to make sure most of the team was here," Harvin said. "I think we got 98 percent here."
Defensive end Jared Allen and linebacker Chad Greenway were the only veteran no-shows.
Frazier said Greenway had a "family matter" to tend to. He also said he "hopes" to see Allen show up next week. OTAs are voluntary, but Frazier said, "Participation is a big deal -- a big deal when you're trying to install the things that we're installing and trying to build a championship team."
Center John Sullivan didn't practice. He left the facility limping with a sleeve covering his left leg, but the injury isn't believed to be serious.
• Linebacker Erin Henderson was asked if he was ready for a "prove it" year after signing a one-year deal this offseason. "Of course," he said. "You got to improve. The moment you get complacent, the moment somebody's going to run you out the door. You got to come to work every day and grind. It's tough work, but you have to find a way to get it done."
• Frazier said he's still looking for middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley to prove he can come back from the major hip surgery that wiped out his entire 2011 season. Brinkley is working with the first unit, and the starting job is his to lose.
• Quarterback Christian Ponder threw two interceptions Wednesday. Cornerback Chris Cook stretched out to make one pickoff deep downfield; the other was a woefully poor pass that cornerback Bobby Felder, a rookie free agent from Nicholls State, grabbed.
• Frazier said there is no plan to bring in another kicker to help rookie Blair Walsh handle the training camp workload.