The Vikings coaching staff continues to zero its microscope in on the players of the North squad at this week’s Senior Bowl, getting an up close and personal experience with 52 players who may or may not figure into their draft plans two-and-a-half months from now.
In case you’re wondering, Leslie Frazier and his assistants have six wide receivers and nine defensive backs on their squad. Those, after all, are the team's most obvious positions of need.
After this morning’s practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Frazier restated some of the biggest things he is looking for as indicators of potential success in the NFL.
“Say a guy makes a mistake,” Frazier said. “You get a chance to challenge him on that mistake and then see how he responds. You want to see if he’s going to sulk, if he’s going to blame someone else or is he going to be a guy who says, ‘You know what. I’m going to work to fix that. I want to get that right.’ You want to get a little feedback in that area.
“Also, when you pat him on the back and say, ‘Hey, good job,’ how does he respond? Does he get the big head and all of a sudden he wants to feel entitled? You want to find those things out. And you don’t get a chance to do that when you’re doing an interview at the combine or even at some of your pro day workouts. You’re asking other people how they are in adverse situations, how they are when things are going well. But now, when we’re working with them, we can find out for ourselves.”
Frazier said there have been players this week he has crossed off the Vikings' list due to the way they've carried themselves on the practice field. But the opposite has happened too.
Said Frazier: "There are guys who people had given us some question marks about who you look at and you say to yourself, 'You know what, we could work through this.'"
On top of all that, there have been constant reminders to prospects about the value of excelling at special teams in the NFL.
“I’ll tell you what,” Frazier said, “those [league championship] games this past weekend kind of helped drive that point home. I’ve referenced those games a few times in our conversations with our players. And whenever we have our special teams meetings, we ask the whole team to be there just to point out to them that it’s as important as offense and defense is in the National Football League. It’s another major phase of the team. So you just keep driving that point home and let them know that there are a lot of guys that this is how they make their living in the NFL, just by being good special teams players.”