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 bothered by Vikings' defensive ineptitude inside 2 minutes

Posted by: under Off the field, Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: September 17, 2012 - 1:50 PM

Leslie Frazier was asked this morning just what part of his defense troubles him most. Without hesitation, the Vikings coach acknowledged that it was the 2-minute defense that will keep him up at night until it’s solved.

After all, in the first two games of the season, the Vikings’ D has been on the field in the final two minutes of a half or the game three times. And all three times, they surrendered scores.

Against Jacksonville, there was the 39-yard touchdown pass Blaine Gabbert threw to Cecil Shorts with 20 seconds left in regulation, an inexcusable blow that capped a six-play, 76-yard Jaguars drive and put the Vikings in a 23-20 hole.

Sunday in Indianapolis, the Vikings allowed the Colts to march 64 yards on eight plays in their 2-minute offense with Andrew Luck hitting Reggie Wayne with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left.

And then at game’s end, Luck again engineered a quick strike score, this time needing just three plays to take the Colts 45 yards, setting Adam Vinatieri up for his game-winning 53-yard field goal.

“That’s glaring. We’ve got to do better,” Frazier said. “The way our team is built we’re going to play a lot of close games. We talk about that all along with our guys. And we have to play good 2-minute offense, good 2-minute defense, good red zone defense, good red zone offense. We have to do better in that area.”

 

Other highlights from Frazier’s back-and-forth with the media today:
  • The Vikings again escaped without any significant injuries. Which in a way make’s Sunday’s loss all the more frustrating given that Indianapolis played without outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, right tackle Winston Justice and left guard Joe Reitz. Starting center Samson Satele also left the game with a loss.
  • Frazier reiterated that Wayne’s TD grab just before the half was a case where the coverage called relied on linebacker Erin Henderson to contest that pass. “That’s the way it’s designed, for the middle linebacker,” Frazier said, “and for our safeties to converge and be factors as well … You do it because you’ve done it enough to where you know that the linebacker can make the play along with the safety help. And we got neither in that instance.”
  • Frazier again lauded the hustle and playmaking of receiver Percy Harvin, who had 12 catches for 104 yards against Indianapolis. Now the Vikings will have to continue monitoring just where to draw the line on how much to use Harvin to make sure they don’t wear him out too soon. “It is tough to take him off the field,” Frazier said. “But we have to be smart. It’s a long, long season. And he is a primary weapon for us on offense. That’s obvious to opposing defenses. We don’t want to over-extend him. But at the same time, we have to utilize his talents. We’re trying to be judicious in doing that. But he’s such a gifted guy, it’s hard to have him sitting over there for any length of time.”
  • Frazier on the costly personal foul penalty that Jared Allen drew for hitting Luck out of bounds after a 1-yard run on third-and-16 in the third quarter: "You've got to have a little awareness of where you are on the field. It looks like he kind of lost where he was on the field. I like his effort. I like what he was trying to get accomplished. Just have a little awareness of where you are on the field and [you] probably have to pull up in that situation.

 

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