Notebook: Leslie Frazier 'trying to be open-minded' on QB workouts
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
NEW ORLEANS -- Leslie Frazier isn't ready to say he's found the quarterback he wants in next month's NFL Draft.
But the Minnesota Vikings' coach suggested on Sunday he's getting closer to knowing which player he'd like to target -- and whether that player will be available at No. 12 or elsewhere.
"I'm trying to be open-minded until we finish some of these private workouts but it's hard not to when you watch a certain tape and go, 'Oh man, this is the guy,'" Frazier said shortly after arriving at the Roosevelt Hotel for the NFL meetings.
"Then you put on another tape and go, 'Wait a minute. This guy ...' So, you have to be a little careful and just go through the process. But each one of them, they all have good qualities of some type. I do have to catch myself sometimes not getting biased before we finish this process."
Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman confirmed team officials had dinner with Missouri's Blaine Gabbert after attending his campus workout on Thursday. According to various reports, the Vikings also have set up or conducted private workouts and/or visits with Auburn's Cam Newton, Washington's Jake Locker, TCU's Andy Dalton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.
"What we try to do," Spielman said, "is (put the player) in a little bit of a social setting and just get to know him a little bit and then do our due diligence on everything else that we have to do."
Frazier said there's "no real rhyme or reason" to who attends which pro day workout between him, Spielman, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and various scouts. The extra one-on-one time afforded in private visits holds particular value at the most important position.
"Good athletes at quarterbacks don't always become franchise quarterbacks," Frazier said. "For us, we're looking and hoping to find a franchise quarterback. For us, that's what we're looking to find. So, my time with him is as important or more important than what we see on tape."
Asked if he's confident he'll get a player he likes, Frazier said, "I have a feel for it. But you're guessing a little bit on what people ahead of you are going to do, so you think you have a feel, but you guys have been around long enough, you know (things) can change in a hurry. All of a sudden somebody you think wasn't looking at quarterbacks jumps up to a spot and you go like, 'Uh, oh.'"
When Everson Griffen was arrested twice in January, Frazier reached out quickly to tell the young defensive end to get his priorities in line.
"The rules are the way they are, so you have to accept them and handle them as best you can," Frazier said. "And the only way to handle them right now is to, in my case, just hope for the best. Hope that every guy will come to the realization, or they have somebody in their life that can speak to them about whatever situation they're facing. But there's not much you can do."
Team officials are barred from having any contact with players during the lockout, with the exception of draft picks on the day after they're selected.
Without naming names, Frazier acknowledged reaching out to specific players before the no-contact period began and reminded them to "be conscious of what's going to happen (and) the fact that we can't communicate anymore. So, be on your p's and q's."
Minicamp in jeopardy?
The lockout also could put Frazier's first minicamp in jeopardy.
As a first-year coach, Frazier is permitted two mandatory minicamps instead of one, and he had scheduled the first for the weekend April 22 to 24 -- before the draft.
Even if players' request for a temporary injunction to stop the lockout succeeds on April 6, there could be concerns about players' conditioning because the lockout has wiped out the early stages of the offseason program.
"We're fast approaching the point where I have to make a decision," Frazier said. "I guess you kind of have to wait to see what the parameters are and when April 6 comes, what comes out of that. Got some ideas, but it can't be concrete because I have no idea."
• Vikings president Mark Wilf spoke briefly with reporters after arriving at the Roosevelt but declined to comment on the labor situation, the stadium push or the team's plan to avoid layoffs or pay cuts during the lockout. Owner Zygi Wilf was expected to arrive later Sunday night, Mark Wilf said.
• Frazier said he wanted to withhold comment about Adrian Peterson's "modern-day slavery" remark until he's allowed to speak with the All-Pro halfback. "Adrian is a great kid, as you guys know," Frazier said. "This is a time where not being able to communicate with the players -- it's hard to form an opinion. You can talk with them, get to know what you're thinking and so on. So, you kind of reserve judgment on everything that you see right now."
• Spielman declined to discuss the affect of the possible kickoff rule changes on free-agent PK Ryan Longwell's future with the Vikings, saying he's "not allowed to talk about our guys or free agency."
• The Vikings will hold their annual "Top 30" dinner sometime in the next month or so, using their 30 official predraft visits for one event.