Notebook: Leslie Frazier won't look ahead despite quick turnaround
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EDEN PRAIRIE -- The Minnesota Vikings are in for a quick turnaround.
After playing host to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at the Metrodome, the Vikings will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home the following Thursday before having a nine-day break before their Nov. 4 game at Seattle.
There are some NFL coaches who would begin to do some advance preparation for the Thursday night opponent this week given how little prep time the Vikings will have before facing the Bucs. But Leslie Frazier said Wednesday he isn't going to look past Sunday.
"I was talking to our staff about that (Tuesday)," Frazier said. "Some guys are able to move ahead. I'm not one of them. Never was, even as an assistant. It's hard for me to even think about the other team.
"Some guys on our staff may be able to do that, try to get a jump ahead. I didn't discourage that. But I just wanted to make sure we all understand that there's no game more important than this week's game."
Tell us what you know
The Vikings acquired cornerback A.J. Jefferson from the Cardinals for a conditional draft pick just before the regular-season opened.
Jefferson has contributed by playing in five games, and this week his contributions include giving any information he knows about the Cardinals to the coaching staff.
"We're tapping," his mind, Frazier said. "Our offensive staff met with him on Monday, our special teams coach (Mike Priefer) met with him. We're definitely talking to him about their personnel and some of the things that he can provide information for us."
Jefferson, who was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State by the Cardinals in 2010 and started the first seven games of 2011, said he has been told he will be involved "a little bit" in some of the packages the Vikings will have for their defense on Sunday.
Defense end Brian Robison has only one sack this season after having 4.5 through six games in 2011. Robison injured his left elbow in Week 2 at Indianapolis and has been wearing a large brace on his arm.
Frazier said that Robison's arm issue isn't impacting his play, although that would seem to be the case.
"Not a whole lot of concern," Frazier said. "He's still playing at a high level. May not have gotten the numbers from a sacks standpoint, but he's getting good pressure on the quarterback and hasn't really complained about not being able to do the job and you don't see it on tape. So no real concerns."
Breaking it down
The Vikings' opening three drives in last Sunday's loss at Washington reached the Redskins 2-, 9- and 9-yard line but all three ended with Blair Walsh field goals as the Vikings finished the game by scoring only two touchdowns in seven trips into the red zone.
"The first one, I tried to force a ball into Devin [Aromashodu] and probably threw it too early," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "Second drive, I could have checked the ball down to Adrian [Peterson] to get a first down and we didn't do that. It all goes back to execution.
"We're not going to change our red-zone scheme. We just have to do what we're doing better and get better at it. We're not going to put extra focus on it, obviously we need to improve and we need to focus on that, but we're not going to try anything crazy different."
Asked if the Redskins defense showed the Vikings any looks they weren't expecting, Ponder said: "We tried to put Percy (Harvin) in the backfield to try to get them to suck up on the run and the safety didn't really do anything. That's not what we expected them to do. I don't know if they knew our play call or what. They didn't cooperate like we wanted them to."
Doing what he's told
Weak-side linebacker Erin Henderson has been back for two games after missing two because of a concussion. Before he was injured, Henderson and Chad Greenway were used as the linebackers in the nickel defense but now it's Greenway and Jasper Brinkley.
That means Henderson comes off when the Vikings employ an extra defensive back on passing downs.
"I just go to practice and do what coach tells me to do," Henderson said when asked if he might play more in the nickel. "Naturally you get frustrated, you're a ball player, you want to be playing, but it's not what coach is asking me to do right now. So at the moment I have to do what they tell me to do and what they ask of me, and that's go out there and play the (base defense)."
A long list
The Cardinals injury report for Sunday's game included 13 players, 10 of whom were either held out or limited in Wednesday's practice.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs), safety Kerry Rhodes (back), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring) and linebacker Reggie Walker (head) did not practice.
The list of players who were limited included cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (hamstring), linebacker Quentin Groves (hamstring), tight end Todd Heap (knee) and linebacker O'Brien Schofield (knee).