Frazier's plans put on hold by lockout

Leslie Frazier was hoping to get an early start implementing new philosophies with a veteran minicamp, but with the lockout that won't be happening. While he knew this was a possibility, he isn't making excuses.

As a first-year head coach, Leslie Frazier was looking forward to the opportunity to conduct two mandatory minicamps this offseason instead of the usual one that teams are allowed.

Frazier's plan was to conduct the first camp before the draft and thus enable the veteran players to begin adjusting to his system.

Frazier was the Vikings' interim coach for the final six games of last season after taking over for Brad Childress in November - Frazier had been the defensive coordinator before that - but that doesn't mean he won't be making some adjustments from how he ran things before he was awarded the job on a permanent basis.

The offense in particular promises to have a new look with Bill Musgrave being hired away from the Atlanta Falcons to replace Darrell Bevell as coordinator. Mike Priefer also has taken over for Brian Murphy as special teams coordinator.

The Vikings have a new quarterbacks coach (Craig Johnson), offensive line coach (Jeff Davidson), running backs coach (James Saxon) and linebackers coach (Mike Singletary).

But Frazier's plans for hitting the ground running has been put on hold as the NFL work stoppage means teams aren't even allowed to contact their players, much less work with them.

Not only will the Vikings lose potentially valuable installation time on the field, but the chance to work with guys in the classroom also is gone for now. Months of time potentially could be lost.

"I think the fact that everybody is going to be operating under the same circumstance -- you don't want to make any excuses," Frazier said when asked about the issue at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.

Linebacker Ben Leber, an assistant player rep for the Vikings, will be a free agent when the lockout does end. For now, he is simply being patient.

"Nobody wants to be locked out, nobody wants to have a work stoppage," Leber said. "We continue to just say that we want to be playing and we want to negotiate, but sometimes it doesn't seem like the owners are willing to do that."

So far, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has declined to comment on the work stoppage but that silence likely will end at the NFL league meetings next week in New Orleans.

Wilf has attempted to provide a measure of stability for the organization by assuring employees that there won't be any immediate layoffs or furloughs during the work stoppage.

"The Wilf family assured all the Vikings' employees, including the coaches, there were not going to be any layoffs, there were not going to be any pay cuts, that they would circle back at some point and discuss what would happen down the line," Frazier said at the Combine.

"There's no imminent desire or concern to lay people off or make people take pay cuts. I'm like, 'Wow. That's a big deal now.' You're talking about boosting morale, just what it did for coaches, for people that work in marketing or people that work in other departments, whoever it is. That just reinforced in my mind why this in a lot of ways is the best job in the league."


  • The Vikings will be taking a long look at all the top available quarterbacks in this draft as they attempt to replace Brett Favre. The team reportedly planned to put Washington's Jake Locker through a private workout Tuesday. Auburn's Cam Newton and TCU's Andy Dalton also reportedly are going to have workouts with the Vikings, and they were reportedly having dinner with Missouri's Blaine Gabbert on Thursday night.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Just to be point-blank and answer the question, I would love to come back to Minnesota. I don't know about what they have in place, their quarterback position. I don't know about the Williams brothers' suspension. I don't even know where Minnesota would be in Week 6 or Week 7. I'm not downplaying me coming back to Minnesota. There's a lot of things besides bringing Randy Moss back that has to happen for Minnesota to be successful. But I would entertain coming back to Minnesota." – Wide receiver Randy Moss, who was obtained in a trade by the Vikings last season and released shortly thereafter, on what he would think of returning to the Vikings for a third time. Moss' comments came during an interview conducted by Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson on KFAN Radio in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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