Notebook: Players fail Frazier's plan

Leslie Frazier installed a basic but effective philosophy when he took over as head coach, but the players weren't able to execute that Monday night in Detroit. Failing in the basics led to their 21-3 loss.

Leslie Frazier's mantra was simple and direct when he took over as interim head coach four weeks ago: Run the ball and stop the run.

Frazier wanted his team's focused on the basics. Instead, they basically failed under adverse conditions after two successful outings under Frazier.

Starting with their own offense, they couldn't function when the running game failed. Adrian Peterson was shut down the entire game after declaring his sprained ankle much better Friday. Without Brett Favre making adjustments before the snap and distributing the ball after the snap, the Giants loaded up to stop the run without much fear of reprisal.

"It wasn't so much what Adrian didn't do. It was more that the Giants had a great plan. We did not respond very well to that plan," Frazier said. "Adrian is still the same Adrian we've seen. We've got to do a better job of adjusting to some things that occurred tonight. A.P. will bounce back."

The numbers spoke volumes to the Vikings' struggles in the running game. Peterson was held to 26 yards on 14 carries for a 1.9-yard average. He didn't have a run longer than 7 yards and was stuffed for no gain or negative yardage on five of his 14 carries.

With Peterson the focus of the Giants' defensive game plan, Jackson needed to respond and didn't. He found limited success in the first half while checking the ball down to short passes, but even those started to fail him in the second half when New York made the Vikings one-dimensional.

"When people are giving you so much eight-man fronts and so much pressure, you have to be able to make plays at the quarterback position with your wide receivers and we just couldn't get that done," Frazier said. "… You've got to be able to make plays at that position when people are stuffing the run or trying to stuff the run as much as they were."

While the Vikings' eighth-ranked run offense will surely drop in the rankings this week and the fourth-ranked run defense should plummet. The Giants ran over and around Minnesota's defenders.

The Giants tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw presented all kinds of problems, despite neither of them being a workhorse. Jacobs carried 14 times, but still had 116 yards and an 8.3-yard average, thanks to a 73-yard run in which he broke contain around the left end and outran safety Madieu Williams. Bradshaw was even better, rushing 11 times for 103 yards and a 9.4-yard averaged, including a 48-yard run.

"We had some missed tackles and we had some guys get out of their gaps. They had two real long runs by both backs. Very uncharacteristic of us," Frazier said. "It's something we'll have to go back and get fixed. But credit to their backs, credit to their offensive line, they did a good job."

NOTES

  • WR Percy Harvin didn't make the trip to Detroit, missing his second consecutive game with complications from his migraine headaches. Harvin hasn't practiced since Dec. 1, but Frazier expects him to resume practice this week. "We're optimistic. We think we're going to have him back when we get back on Thursday and start our practices again," Frazier said. "Barring any unforeseen situation, we expect him back on Thursday."

  • Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had only one catch for seven yards. "There are times, and tonight was a pretty good example of it, where people are trying to take him away and making us throw the football outside," Frazier said. "We've got to be able to do that when that happens. We can do some things also to try to uncover him. We've got to get that done."

  • Frazier said he doesn't have any idea where the team will be playing next week. The Metrodome roof collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of snow Sunday morning, causing the game to be delayed until Monday night and moved to Detroit. Metrodome officials are hoping to have a timeline for repairs by Tuesday night.

  • The Vikings had four charters on Sun Country Airlines filled with about 700 people who made the trek to Detroit.

  • The Lions shut down the lines for free tickets after only a couple hours, estimating they had distributed about 30,000 tickets in that time. Attendance for the game was announced at 45,910.

  • The Vikings game on Sunday, Dec. 26, which was scheduled for noon Central in Philadelphia, was moved to a Sunday night game (7:20 p.m. Central kickoff) aired nationally on NBC as part of the NFL's flex scheduling late in the season.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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