Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Q: What has been the biggest difference inside the facility since you took over?
A: The players can probably answer better than me. I just sense energy from our players that we need to win, and a greater sense of focus.
Q: How'd you instill that?
A: I just tried to explain to them what I thought we needed to do to turn our season around, and I hit on some key points that I thought were necessary to win in the National Football League. Even more so, how I thought we needed to win in Minnesota and the things we have done in the past that have helped us be successful. I tried to highlight those points.
Q: Where does Brett Favre stand physically today and what will you do with him?
A: He's still pretty sore from the game, and we won't do very much with him -- if at all -- at practice today. Tomorrow we'll try and see how he responds with another day's rest. We'll have a better gauge after tomorrow's practice, and we'll go from there.
Q: How difficult is the conversation about him playing?
A: I don't think it'll be that difficult. If when I talk to the doctors and they tell me that, for instance, he'd be at risk if he played and it wouldn't be wise, then it's an easy decision. If they tell me that he's cleared, and he feels like he can go and that's what we've seen on the practice field that he looks as if he can go, then we'd let him go. It's a combination of how he feels along with what our medical staff says will help make that decision with of course what we see at practice as well.
Q: Does it surprise you how teams with interim coaches have been able to turn things around this year?
A: I haven't studied interim coach's history. I just know what I knew about our team and I know what we've done in the past to be successful. That's the one thing I try and preach to our guys is what we have to do to be successful in Minnesota. I really haven't looked at the totality of an interim coach's success or failure.
Q: Did you feel that Minnesota needed to make a change when they fired Brad Childress?
A: I knew that things needed to change for our team as far as our performance. Whether it needed to be changed at the top, that's up for conjecture. I just knew there were some things within our team that needed to be adjusted.
Q: When you scout Justin Tuck on the Giants defense, how has his game evolved?
A: The fact that he can put his hand down on the ground and rush and play the run effectively but he can stand up and get over guards as well as offensive tackles and be as effective inside and outside, that's a rare guy that can do that. You can line him up at every position on the defensive line and he's effective at any of those positions. He's a tough matchup for a lot of offensive lines and credit him. Not only is he athletic and a physically tough player, but he seems to be a very smart player as well. He really understand angles, he understands how to use his hands. It's a good combination for a defensive lineman.
Q: What have you seen from the Giants offensive line the past few weeks?
A: Boy, I tell you, they've done a good job the past couple weeks of just putting things together and beginning to develop some continuity even though it's been with moving parts. Some how, some way, they're still getting production and the guys are really playing hard. There is evidence on tape and you see the results with Jacobs along with Bradshaw. Their offensive line is a tough group of guys.
Q: Do you want the Vikings head coaching job permanently or are you willing to shop around?
A: I've thought for a while that I could be a head coach in the National Football League. I've talked to a number of clubs about opportunities and their respective situations, but it never happened for one reason or another. I do believe I can be a successful head coach in this league and I'd like that day to come that I am a head coach. I'm looking forward to being the head coach and not the interim or whatever. Hopefully it's in Minnesota, but who knows. We have four more weeks to go and I'm concentrating on the New York Giants and that's where my focus has to be right now.
Q: How much does recent history between teams factor into a game?
A: I think it factors in. I imagine if you ask some of their players that they think about that last game because I know I would. I'd think about with various degrees of what I need to do to get ready for this opponent. From our perspective, our team is so different now than it was at the end of last season, probably much like their team is in some ways. We can't really look back at that game, it really does not have much significance for us because our team has changed quite a bit even though on the surface it may not seem that way. We're more concerned about the New York Giants of 2010 than the Giants we played at the end of the 2009 season.
Q: What's changed with Jared Allen these past few games?
A: He's coming along. In the Arizona game, he really began to hit his stride a little bit. Some of it had to do with the way the season started for him. He was seeing so many double teams and chip blocks and people were doing so many different things to try to keep him from rushing. He kind of got into a little bit of a funk to a degree, but I'd say in the last four or five weeks, he's really looked like the Jared Allen we're accustomed to seeing and he has become extremely dominant. There aren't many people who can block him when he's playing like he's playing right now.
Q: What has it been like to have a player like Brett Favre on your team? Is it a blessing and a curse?
A: I've enjoyed working with him, even when I was just an assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. We've had a good relationship going back to when I went down to visit him a couple summers ago just to talk to him about joining our team or not. We've had a good relationship, and he's been through a lot this season beyond just on the field. He's had to deal with a lot of things. He and I have talked about all those things along the way to me becoming interim head coach. We've always had a good relationship, and now we're in communication all the time and I'm always trying to encourage him to do the things he has to do. It's a blessing for me, not a curse. I enjoy being around him, I enjoy watching him play, and he's a great player and a good person as well.
Q: Have you and him reflected on the fact that this is his last few games?
A: The fact that he said this is it for him, I believe that he's sincere this time when he says that just knowing some of the things he's going through. Yeah, it's been bittersweet whenever our season ends to know that it's over but I'm going to be happy for him and his family if that's indeed what he wants to do.
MinnesotaRB Adrian Peterson
Q: How would you explain the difference since (interim head coach) Leslie Frazier took over?
A: I don't know. Just having a new coach and just having Frazier come in, who automatically had a lot of respect from guys, and that's just from how he carries himself and the type of guy he is overall. But you can feel different vibes, I can see that within the locker room and you can see it from different guys just by me knowing the people I'm around. You can feel it. So I can say the vibe in the locker room has changed.
Q: Is that the product of anything Leslie is doing, or is it something that the players are doing?
A: Well, you know, anytime you're halfway through the season and you get a new coach, you're definitely going to be more able to go out and get some wins too. But coach Frazier is doing a great job. He's a heck of a coach. When he talks, people open their ears and listen to what he says. So I feel like that alone has motivated a lot of guys.
Q: Does it frustrate you that the coaching change seems to be have been what sparked this motivation, and by your answer, it sounds like it wasn't really there before?
A: It was there somewhat, but as far as frustration, no, not at all. We go out, we've got to adjust, execute our game plan and get a win. And there were four or five games that I can look back at and say that really determined the outcome of the game, which they all were losses. But, you know, it was one play here or one play there that really made the difference in some of those games. So I really can't blame it on this guy just not being all the way tuned in or whatever it might be. It's mostly about just being focused on your job and executing.
Q: If you look at the team as a whole, how is it affected by the week to week speculation with Brett Favre about whether he's going to play, whether he's going to retire, all that?
A: Well, I haven't heard anything about him retiring or anything like that, but we have, you know, Tarvaris (Jackson) stepped in and he did a great job last week. So of course we would love Favre to be out there to play with us, but if he's not healthy enough to do that, then we'll go with T-Jack. He's proven that he can get the job done.
Q: What do you think you'll remember most about playing with Brett?
A: Just remember being, what, eight, seven, eight-years-old playing with Favre on my (video) game at home and now just having the opportunity to play with him, that's a memory itself. But just his personality. He's a real humble guy, the best quarterback to play the game, and just his personality. Just if I had to name one thing I would say that it's his personality and how he is around the teammates.
Q: Are you guys running the ball more than you did before the coaching change?
A: Yeah, yeah, we are. I felt that Frazier emphasized that, 'Hey, we are a running team. We are going to make sure we establish the run game, and our defense is going to make sure that they stop the ball, stop those guys when they're trying to run the ball.' So in that sense, yeah, we are running the ball more. As a matter of fact, this past week we had, together as a group, we had like 40 carries and we were able to be productive on the ground and put ourselves in some good situations to convert on third down.
Q: Do you see yourselves as spoilers or do you still think you have a chance to make the playoffs?
A: Yeah, hope is still alive, but we just have to do our job and that's just take it one week at a time and get W's. So we can control the controls and let the chips fall where they may.
Q: The Giants have struggled up there in Minnesota in their last few visits. How much do you think that factors into a game?
A: Each year you come up against a totally different team. Now, yeah, we are familiar with the Giants, but we're not looking at it as far as, 'Hey, we have played these guys three times here and we have beat them, so this is just what's going to happen automatically.' We're going to execute our game plan starting with this week, getting a good week of preparing, preparation and go out and execute on Sunday and with the mindset to win still, though, but not taking it lightly.
Q: Is it something that can get into a player's head? Eli Manning hasn't beaten the Vikings.
A: Well, I'm sure if that's something Eli dwells on, then that definitely can play a role in the game. If that's something he's seriously thinking about, it will definitely work against him. That's something, that's what I can say.
Q: What's your relationship with Ahmad Bradshaw? He had mentioned a couple weeks ago that he had spent some time with you and spoke with you during the offseason.
A: Yeah, we've got a pretty good relationship and he's a cool guy, a good friend of mine. During the offseason, we always run into each other so we end up kicking it and whatnot. But (he's) a cool, laidback guy, and he runs the ball well. I love his running style, but, yeah, we have a pretty good relationship.
Q: Did you talk to him at all? He's had some fumble issues this year, and that's obviously something that you've been working on yourself.
A: I actually haven't had the opportunity to talk to him about that. And really I think he has like five or six fumbles, and it's not something that I've been looking at like, 'Oh, he's just fumbling the ball, fumbling the ball.' But that's how the media do – they find something and they poke at it. But it's a lot of great things he's been doing, too, and just like any other back that is putting the ball on the ground, they know. It's not like they're going out there giving it away, that's not the goal. But I'm sure he's making improvements to keep the ball up high and tight and not to put it on the turf.
Q: What's the background there, how do you know him?
A: It goes back to when I first came out. We had run into each other and meeting up that way.