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Vikings’ Leslie Frazier: ‘We’re still evolving’

Bob Sansevere,¬†Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –

Questions With Bob …

The Minnesota Vikings are 3-1 and atop the NFC North and, while he’s not giddy, coach Leslie Frazier certainly is enjoying how the first quarter of the season has gone.

“A lot football ahead of us, a lot of work to be done between now and December, but this first quarter, I’m very pleased with where our team is and some of the things we’re doing,” Frazier said Monday, Oct. 1, during his news conference, a day after the Vikings beat the Detroit Lions 20-13.

I talked to Frazier one-on-one after his news conference about his team is and where it is.

BS: Do you know how good you are yet?

LF: Oh, no, no, no. It’s too early to determine that. We’ve got so much football to be played. We’re still evolving as a team.

BS: How big a psychological advantage is it to finally win an NFC North game after losing 11 in a row?

LF: We never ever talked about that part of it. We only concentrated on the fact we were playing Detroit this weekend and we were going to be on the road and it was the next game on our schedule. We never, ever mentioned what had happened in the past.

BS: Percy Harvin has been good since he came into the league, but has he taken his game to another level this season?

LF: I’d have to say so. Some of the plays he’s making and the intensity he plays with throughout the games (are impressive). And we’ve never kept him on the field for this extended amount of time.

His game definitely has gone up to another level.

BS: Who has been the most pleasant surprise?

LF: Probably seeing where Adrian (Peterson) is at this point (after recovering from knee surgery). I don’t know if I could have predicted that he’d be such a factor on offense as he is. We’re taking our offense through he and Percy. I was hoping that would be the case, but to say Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 that would be the case, I sure didn’t predict this.

BS: What has been the difference in the defense from the first two games to the last two games? Is it players taking time to buy into (new coordinator) Alan Williams’ system and figuring out what he wants?

LF: I think that has a lot to do with it. It’s still somewhat new. There’s a different voice in the room, some nuances, a few changes here and there that guys have to get accustomed to and say, “OK, I guess this is how we’re doing it now.” I think our players have bought into that. Once our veterans do, that affects the young guys, and I think that’s been a part of where we are. It’s still such a young season. It’s taken one or two games for everyone to say, “OK, this is how we’re doing it.”

BS: That’s got to be exciting for you. It’s a young season, but you’re 3-1 and, as you mentioned before, you’re still evolving. The evolution should mean you get better, right?

LF: That’s what I’m hoping and believing — that we should get better.

BS: The Tennessee Titans (the Vikings’ next opponent) have given up no fewer than 34 points in a game. Are you expecting an offensive explosion?

LF: The bottom line for us is just win. That’s all that matters, whatever that is — 3-0, 35-34, whatever — just win.

BS: Is (rookie) Matt Kalil playing like a veteran at left tackle?

LF: He’s playing good football for us. That defensive line Detroit had and those ends they had rushing are good defensive ends. And he did a good job a week ago (against San Francisco).

BS: Are you doing less than you thought you’d have to do to help him?

LF: I would say so. We have some things in the game plan each week, but we haven’t had to go to those places as often as we thought we would.

BS: You have to feel pretty good about the season so far. Do you feel validated or vindicated as coach? And do you ever worry about the perception people have of you?

LF: You really can’t get caught up in other people’s perception. You have to keep your nose to the grindstone and stick to what you believe.

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