Leslie Frazier lays out plan for increased offseason participation
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier offered players no guarantees at Monday morning's annual exit meeting that he'll be the Minnesota Vikings' coach in 2011.
But Frazier did map out an offseason plan focusing on self-evaluation and better attendance at voluntary spring practices than the Vikings had under Brad Childress.
"We definitely don't want to be walking off the field feeling the way we felt on Sunday," receiver Percy Harvin said, a day after the Vikings' season ended with a 20-13 loss at Detroit, a 6-10 record and a last-place finish in the NFC North Division.
"So, we bought into it and if he is the coach, we bought into his plan and that's what we've got to do."
Frazier emerged as the Vikings' top choice while guiding the team to a 3-3 record following Childress' Nov. 22 firing. However, the Vikings didn't make a formal announcement until finalizing a contract with Frazier on Monday afternoon, after many players had left the building.
"The biggest parting message was, man, you can't take back what happened in 2010," linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "Look forward to 2011 and try to prepare and do what you can do for yourself and for the team."
Harvin -- who once again plans to do the majority of his offseason training in Florida -- was one of many veteran starters who participated in few or none of the Vikings' organized team activity (OTA) practices last summer.
Twenty-nine players were absent for the first session open to reporters, and the likes of Harvin, Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian, Antoine Winfield, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Ray Edwards missed the bulk of work prior to minicamp.
Frazier stressed that "he's going to want pretty much everybody here for OTAs this year to kind of build this thing as a team," Harvin said. "So, I'll do that (workout regimen) at Florida and be here for OTAs."
Asked if that means players learned something from this season's travails, Harvin said, "I think everybody thought (with) everybody coming back that we just were magically going to make it to the Super Bowl this year. So, I think a lot of people got a wakeup call, myself included. So, we're all ready to get this thing rolling."
Of course, there's no guarantee OTAs will exist, thanks to labor unrest that could wipe out the entire offseason.
Rookie cornerback Chris Cook said he's been told there's "a 95% chance" of a lockout that could begin as soon as March 4, and several other players acknowledged they're preparing professionally and financially for a work stoppage.
If there is football, players have made clear they support the choice for who will lead them.
"He's always seemed like a head coach ever since he took over that role," left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "He knows how to talk to you and he respects you. Right. now nobody knows what's going on. ... In the meantime, I feel like everybody's going to prepare if we'll be right back here on March 8 or so."