Hartman: Frazier focuses only on battling Packers

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2013 - 12:30 AM

The playoffs are a remote possibility, but the Vikings coach knows a victory is needed to build momentum.

With the Vikings at 2-8 and six tough games remaining, coach Leslie Frazier was asked if his team will win another game or if more losses are coming.

Frazier is not only confident the Vikings will win several games, but he believes that with no runaway leader in the NFC North, a playoff berth still is possible if the team can finish 8-8. Detroit and Chicago currently are tied for the division lead at 6-4.

“We get this win against Green Bay and you see where our division is, it can keep hope alive with a win on Sunday,” he said. “It’s a big game for us. We get some momentum with this win, who knows what’s going to happen with the way the NFC is set up this year?”

Frazier said a big emphasis for the team going into the Green Bay game is to limit mistakes if they want to have a chance to win.

“When you travel on the road against a good football team like we’re going to play on Sunday,” he said, “you can’t turn the ball over and you have to take the ball away to have a chance to win. So we have to find a way to secure the football and then take it away.”

Frazier was asked if he’s gotten any closer to understanding why this team is struggling so much after having a playoff team last season.

“It’s not the exact same team,” he said. “There are some new people on our team. But there are so many factors. I mean there are other teams that are going through it that were playoff teams a year ago.

“You need your best players to play well every single week in order to be successful, and we haven’t played, as a group across the board, well every week — on offense, on defense, on special teams — we haven’t been able to put a consistent four quarters together. That has cost us.”

Still Frazier said he believes he has the right coaching staff to continue leading the team not only for the rest of this season, but for next year as well.

“I think we have a good staff,” he said. “It’s the same staff that coached the team to the playoffs a year ago. We’ve fallen short up to this point this season, but as you mentioned, there’s still some other games to play so we have to find a way to get a win on Sunday and get some momentum.”

Frazier said he is hoping quarterback Christian Ponder, who will start Sunday, performs well enough that the media can stop criticizing his performance.

“We’ll see how things go in this ballgame,” Frazier said. “Hoping that he does well so that we don’t have to keep talking about the quarterback position, but we’ll evaluate it on Sunday.”

What needs to change for the Vikings to win next season?

“I haven’t thought a whole lot about next year,” Frazier said. “I’m really focusing more on this Green Bay game and how can we get a win at Lambeau Field? That’s where my focus has to be.”

One thing the Vikings have going for them Sunday is that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is out because of a broken collarbone.

“He’s a great player,” Frazier said. “Anytime a great player is not on the field, it makes a big difference.”

Battling run games

The Gophers football team has turned its season around with a greatly improved running game. They are averaging 218.5 yards per game, good for fourth in the Big Ten.

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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 NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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