Frazier taking cautious preseason approach

The Vikings' previous three coaches took different approaches to training camp and the preseason. Leslie Frazier is putting an emphasis on having his stars fresh for the regular season.

Any football fan knows that the first preseason game is only important if your favorite team wins. Nobody in Indiana is sweating that the Colts got crushed 33-10 by the mediocre St. Louis Rams because Peyton Manning didn't play. In St. Louis, fans are trying to figure out where the Super Bowl is next February, because their backups knocked the snot out of the Colts' backups. It's how the preseason works.

Denny Green viewed the preseason as a test of wills. He wanted to go 4-0 in the preseason and, if that meant playing starters an extra series or two, so be it. Then again, he also had John Randle on the field in the final minutes of a 1998 blowout playoff win against Arizona and he got injured and was a shell of himself against the Falcons. It's how the "New Sheriff" bounced.

Mike Tice, who may have had a head coaching job too soon after being a player himself, didn't believe in gassing out his starters. He took it easy on "the guys" in the preseason, but never understood players claiming they couldn't go. He was old school. New York old school. He coached for the moment. He was an ideal position coach, but not a great head coach. His view of the preseason was one of a player – it means nothing unless my job is on the line; if my job is safe, sit me down until it counts.

Brad Childress was the only metamorphosis coach of the Vikings in the modern era of the NFL. His first training camp had the gray-haired veterans of training camp waxing that Chilly was the demon spawn of Les Steckel. His first training camp was as close to an NFL Bataan Death March as any Vikings team had endured since Camp Steckel, where Gage Hall was Stalag 13. He went twice a day every day in pads. After a near-rebellion from veteran players (some would argue hometown boy Matt Birk never got over it), Chilly started a veteran player's council to voice grievances. Not exactly the hands-on approach, but an improvement.

Leslie Frazier proved one thing as the latest head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, which is a refreshing happy medium of the other polar opposite head coaches. He told Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams they wouldn't see the field in the preseason opener and had Adrian Peterson join them after one carry. Frazier kept Steve Hutchinson on the field because Donovan McNabb needed him. He picked his shots. He was a player removed enough from the game to make the decisions that are for the betterment of the team – keeping guys like Peterson, Allen and Winfield with that "new car smell" when the regular season starts.

Of the millions of Minnesotans that watched (a fraction) of Saturday night's 14-3 loss to Tennessee, few Vikings fans saw the game as a positive.

There weren't a lot of great Vikings moments to be taken from Saturday's game other than Frazier has a plan in place that didn't include exposing his star players to anything more than necessary to get them ready for the regular season. That rationale may hold up well for Frazier when the regular season starts wearing out teams that put too much emphasis on putting their stars at risk.

Seeing as the Vikings lost their opener, the game is meaningless. In Tennessee, it's a building block. So goes Week 1 of the preseason.

MONDAY NOTES

  • With the end of Week 1 of the preseason tonight, the focus of the media and, as a result, the fans will turn to Week 2. For the Vikings, it is going to be a road trip to Seattle, where former Vikings Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice await their former teammates. Assume this storyline will get wall-to-wall coverage, especially with everyone remotely associated with the Vikings wanting to get the sour taste of Saturday's game out of their mouth and look forward rather than back.

  • From the "Who's Your Agent?" Department comes this: Word out of the Bay Area is that the 49ers are going to work out Daunte Culpepper today for a potential paying gig. He was out of the NFL in 2010 after spending 2006 with the Dolphins (who Nick Saban chose ahead of Drew Brees), 2007 with the Raiders and 2008-09 with the Lions.

  • With Christian Ponder and Jake Locker stuck as backups, the earliest impact by a rookie QB may be made by Andy Dalton of the Bengals. Thanks to the icy death stare between the Bengals ownership and Carson Palmer, Dalton may be the Week 1 starter by default in Cincinnati. He may be joined by Cam Newton sooner than later and, by midseason, Blaine Gabbert may get entrance to the dance. But, despite four QBs being taken in the first round of the draft, Dalton, a second-rounder, is the only one that is on the fast track to start Sept. 11.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



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    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Any football fan knows that the first preseason game is only important if your favorite team wins. Nobody in Indiana is sweating that the Colts got crushed 33-10 by the mediocre St. Louis Rams because Peyton Manning didn't play. In St. Louis, fans are trying to figure out where the Super Bowl is next February, because their backups knocked the snot out of the Colts' backups. It's how the preseason works. Denny Green viewed the preseason as a test of wills. He wanted to go 4-0 in the preseason and, if that meant playing starters an extra series or two, so be it. Then again, he also had John Randle on the field in the final minutes of a 1998 blowout playoff win against Arizona and he got injured and was a shell of himself against the Falcons. It's how the \"New Sheriff\" bounced. Mike Tice, who may have had a head coaching job too soon after being a player himself, didn't believe in gassing out his starters. He took it easy on \"the guys\" in the preseason, but never understood players claiming they couldn't go. He was old school. New York old school. He coached for the moment. He was an ideal position coach, but not a great head coach. His view of the preseason was one of a player – it means nothing unless my job is on the line; if my job is safe, sit me down until it counts. Brad Childress was the only metamorphosis coach of the Vikings in the modern era of the NFL. His first training camp had the gray-haired veterans of training camp waxing that Chilly was the demon spawn of Les Steckel. His first training camp was as close to an NFL Bataan Death March as any Vikings team had endured since Camp Steckel, where Gage Hall was Stalag 13. He went twice a day every day in pads. After a near-rebellion from veteran players (some would argue hometown boy Matt Birk never got over it), Chilly started a veteran player's council to voice grievances. Not exactly the hands-on approach, but an improvement. Leslie Frazier proved one thing as the latest head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, which is a refreshing happy medium of the other polar opposite head coaches. He told Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams they wouldn't see the field in the preseason opener and had Adrian Peterson join them after one carry. Frazier kept Steve Hutchinson on the field because Donovan McNabb needed him. He picked his shots. He was a player removed enough from the game to make the decisions that are for the betterment of the team – keeping guys like Peterson, Allen and Winfield with that \"new car smell\" when the regular season starts. Of the millions of Minnesotans that watched (a fraction) of Saturday night's 14-3 loss to Tennessee, few Vikings fans saw the game as a positive. There weren't a lot of great Vikings moments to be taken from Saturday's game other than Frazier has a plan in place that didn't include exposing his star players to anything more than necessary to get them ready for the regular season. That rationale may hold up well for Frazier when the regular season starts wearing out teams that put too much emphasis on putting their stars at risk. Seeing as the Vikings lost their opener, the game is meaningless. In Tennessee, it's a building block. So goes Week 1 of the preseason.
  • With the end of Week 1 of the preseason tonight, the focus of the media and, as a result, the fans will turn to Week 2. For the Vikings, it is going to be a road trip to Seattle, where former Vikings Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice await their former teammates. Assume this storyline will get wall-to-wall coverage, especially with everyone remotely associated with the Vikings wanting to get the sour taste of Saturday's game out of their mouth and look forward rather than back.
  • From the \"Who's Your Agent?\" Department comes this: Word out of the Bay Area is that the 49ers are going to work out Daunte Culpepper today for a potential paying gig. He was out of the NFL in 2010 after spending 2006 with the Dolphins (who Nick Saban chose ahead of Drew Brees), 2007 with the Raiders and 2008-09 with the Lions.
  • With Christian Ponder and Jake Locker stuck as backups, the earliest impact by a rookie QB may be made by Andy Dalton of the Bengals. Thanks to the icy death stare between the Bengals ownership and Carson Palmer, Dalton may be the Week 1 starter by default in Cincinnati. He may be joined by Cam Newton sooner than later and, by midseason, Blaine Gabbert may get entrance to the dance. But, despite four QBs being taken in the first round of the draft, Dalton, a second-rounder, is the only one that is on the fast track to start Sept. 11.
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