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.

Frazier on P-word: `I don't know if you want to count yourself out of anything.'

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Vikings coaches, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Ryan Longwell Updated: July 26, 2012 - 5:21 PM

MANKATO -- Who says there's no pressure on the Vikings to win this season?

Coach Leslie Frazier made it a mere eight minutes into his first press conference of training camp before being confronted with the "P" word ... as in playoffs ... for a team that went 3-13 and is riding an 11-game losing streak within its division.

Asked if it's realistic for him to project a goal of making the playoffs when he talks to the team on the eve of Friday's first day of training camp, Frazier didn't back away (or say, Playoffs!?) . He stood behind the players -- including quarterback Christian Ponder -- who said this offseason that making the playoffs is a realistic goal. (Then again, what are they going to say when asked if they think they can make the playoffs?)

"In the NFL today, I don't know that you want to count yourself out of any situation," Frazier said after checking in at Gage Hall on the campus of Minnesota State University this morning. "This is a very fluid league in the way things are. I mean the teams that are sometimes favorites don't always end up being the favorite at the end of the year. Or the teams that are counted out are sometimes the teams that flip the script a little bit or end up in places that most people didn't expect at the beginning of the season.

"That's not to say that's going to be us. Our goal is to come down here to Mankato and try to continue to improve across the board. If we make the necessary improvements and come together as a team, we feel our chances are as good as anybody's."

Some other highlights from the reporting day ...

  • Receiver Jerome Simpson, projected to be the team's No. 1 receiver and much-needed deep threat that's been sorely lacking the past two seasons, will be heavily involved in the offense early on in camp despite the fact he must serve a three-game league-imposed suspension to start the regular season. "Early on, we're going to keep him in and let him take reps," Frazier said. "But at some point we're going to have to pare it back. We aren't going to have to have him in those first three games. So we're going to have to start getting ready the guys who are going to play in those three games. But early on, we want to make sure he has a good grasp of our offense and what we want to do."
  • So who will be the guy who steps in for Simpson for those first three games? Good question, Frazier said. "I don't know if there's any one guy that we can point to right now," Frazier said. "There's going to be competition. There would be competition even if we knew Jerome was going to play in that first game. Devin Aromashodu will have a chance, [Greg] Childs will have a chance. Brian [Walters] will have a chance. There will be a number of guys competing for that spot for when we open the season against Jacksonville. But I can't say today that there's one guy that we're counting on to get it done."
  • Simpson said there can be an advantage to missing the first three games of the season. (Again, what is he supposed to say?) "I'll be fresh coming back after those first three games," he said. "Some of the guys, they'll be banged up and have injuries, so I can use that to my advantage."
  • Rookie kicker Blair Walsh has yet to prove his confidence on the field. But he's nailing it when it comes to answering pesky reporters who want to nag him about replacing a steady longtime NFL veteran (Ryan Longwell) a year after missing 14 of 35 field goal attempts at the University of Georgia. "[Longwell] was a big part of the organization and I wish him the best in the future. But I'm here to work and get better each and every day ... and move on." Yeah, but what about the nerves? "I can't think of it that way. I just have to think about having fun out there and doing what I've been doing since my freshman year in high school." Yeah, but what about all the pesky reporters and possibly teammates who will be judging your every move? "It's not that big a deal," Walsh said. "You're an NFL player and if people want to look at you and see how you're doing, that's fine with me. That's part of the job description. I'm looking forward to it." Yeah, but what's the biggest adjustment for you? "Getting used to questions from you guys," said Walsh, calmly and with a smile.
  • Unlike past Vikings coaches, Frazier doesn't require players to pass a conditioning run before being able to practice. Frazier said every player but running back Adrian Peterson has been cleared medically to participate in practice. Frazier said he was going to talk to Peterson later today about the team's plans for him at the start of camp. It's expected that Peterson will begin camp on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list as he continues to come back from a left knee reconstruction. Peterson said he'll push to get on the field as soon as possible and will be working hard whether he's in uniform or off to the side working out with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman. "To be honest, I'm full-go," Peterson said. "I'm doing pretty much everything. I'm cutting, running, jumping. It's kind of different when you put pads on and you got guys diving at your legs and you're making second cuts based off of instincts of the game. That aspect I really haven't had a lot of to practice with. That's what I really want, to get a feel of to be out there and to get involved in that."  
  • Friday's schedule includes a walk-through from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and a practice without pads from 2:45-5 p.m.


Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
UAB 11:00 AM
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Memphis 11:00 AM
North Carolina 11:30 AM
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
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




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