The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a very disappointing 2010 season. After finishing in a last place tie in the NFC North, Minnesota decided to make significant changes to their team heading into this season. Leslie Frazier has taken over as Head Coach, the team has moved forward from the saga of Brett Favre, and Ray Edwards and Sidney Rice have both bolted in free agency. However, the biggest news around Minnesota this offseason comes at the quarterback position. After spending a high first round pick on former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, the Vikings then made a trade for former Pro Bowler Donovan McNabb. After just one shaky season in Washington it remains to be seen how much McNabb has left, but with Ponder more than likely not ready to start from day one, the Vikes will be turning to the 34-year-old signal caller to get the Vikings out of the cellar in the NFC North.
Leslie Frazier joined ESPN Radio Minneapolis with Sunday Sports Talk to talk about the Vikings signing Donovan McNabb, what he expects from McNabb following a rough season in Washington, what he is planning on doing to replace Sidney Rice, and how difficult it is for him as a first full-time head coach with this offseason.
On the signing of Donovan McNabb:
“He was pretty excited about the opportunity. We had some discussions about a lot of different things that needed to be talked about. He was extremely excited about the opportunity to come to Minnesota with the players that we have around him. It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing.”
How concerned he is with McNabb’s struggles in Washington:
“I’ve had a chance to work with Donovan in the past. My first four years in the NFL as a coach and his first four years in the league as a player I was around him, watching his growth and saw what he did for our football team in Philadelphia and throughout his career. There were some bumps in the road in Washington and I didn’t get overly concerned or alarmed about what was happening. I feel like I know Donovan well, I know what his makeup is like, and also have an idea of what the problems were in Washington. I felt like for our football team and the circumstances that we were coming from this offseason he would be a good fit for what we needed to have done.”
On replacing Sidney Rice:
“I think we’re gonna go with this group. I feel pretty good about them. We have some playmakers both at the tight end position and the wide receiver position. I think this group will get us where we want to go. You always trying to look at things and trying to improve but barring any unforeseen situation coming up this is the group we’re gonna roll with. Things could change.”
On the difficulty of this offseason:
“You’re right. There’s a lot to get done in this training camp leading up to our game against San Diego. The one positive is that every team in the league is working under the same parameters. That helps you to a degree to know that we’re all starting on equal footing. Now it’s just a matter of our guys responding to some things that we have in place in Mankato to get us prepared for San Diego. I think we have a good plan, it’s a different situation than we have ever experienced in the National Football League but we take the mantra that there are no excuses. We just want to come in and be prepared for what we have to get done against San Diego. I think our guys will respond.”
On trying to get Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson locked up long-term:
“Yeah we gotta get Chad taken care of, but Adrian is not far behind. It’s a priority to hopefully secure him in a long-term contract at some point. We will sit down with him and his agent and try to get that done sooner than later.”
Whether or not he believe Minnesota can win the division:
“No doubt about it. No doubt about it. That’s exactly what I’m gonna talk to our team about. I do believe we can win our division without question.”