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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Leslie Frazier lays out his expectations for players at the Senior Bowl

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: January 23, 2012 - 10:37 AM

Leslie Frazier’s exuberance for this year’s Senior Bowl certainly seems sincere. On Sunday night, before addressing a team meeting at the Mobile Convention Center, Frazier gushed again over the opportunity this week will provide him and his coaching staff.

The Vikings are eager to accelerate the rebuilding process after a 3-13 season and this year’s draft will be key in the process. Instrumental in the preparation for the draft will be the ability to shrewdly evaluate talent. So you can see why the coaching staff’s hands-on experience with the North squad at the Senior Bowl is being welcomed with open arms.

The first practice comes this afternoon at 2:45. Yet on Sunday night, Frazier and his staff held their first meetings with the North team with the clearly conveying clearly what they will be looking for in draft prospects – from constant effort to attention to detail to the willingness to be a good teammate.

“You want to approach every day with the right attitude,” Frazier told players at the meeting. “And if you have any questions about anything you’re doing or what we’re asking you to do, ask those questions. There are no bad questions. But my attitude has to be right every day that I walk on that practice field.”

Frazier also told players to embrace the moment and to take advantage of a unique opportunity that could prove to be a springboard to their NFL careers.

“This is a chance for me to show my talent,” Frazier said. “And you have to be able to show it in many different areas. Part of it is, ‘Can I be assignment sound? Do I understand what it means to practice hard? Do I understand what it means to sit in a meeting and pay attention to what’s being talked about?’ And then being able to transfer it over to the practice field. And then carry it over to game day. That’s all a part of the evaluation.”

Frazier also spoke to what the Vikings’ staff hopes to provide its players this week, vowing to be demanding yet helpful in the process.

“For us to be able to be hands on with every one of you and to be able to evaluate whether or not you can fit our situation, that’s a big deal, man,” he said. “So we’re going to push you in every way that we can to find out if you’re a guy who’s worthy of being one of those draft picks for our team. And the other teams will make their own evaluations. But that’s important for us. And we’re excited for this opportunity.”

Maybe the pep talk wasn’t quite on the level of Pacino from “Any Given Sunday” in terms of fire and motivation. But it certainly seemed to resonate and carried a strong message.

“Remember, it’s not just Saturday that you’re being evaluated. Not just that game day,” Frazier said. “It’s everything you do in these meetings and in practice as well. A lot of eyes are on you. But you should welcome that opportunity. It shouldn’t diminish it. It should not make me fear anything about this process. I should be excited about it.”

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