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Updated: March 22nd, 2011 3:46pm
Notebook: 'More things can be done' with Percy Harvin, Frazier says

Notebook: 'More things can be done' with Percy Harvin, Frazier says

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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NEW ORLEANS -- From the moment he took over as coach, Leslie Frazier has said he wants the Minnesota Vikings' offense to run through All-Pro halfback Adrian Peterson.

On Tuesday, Frazier pointed to another player he wants to feature more often: receiver Percy Harvin.

"I still think there are more things that can be done with Percy," Frazier said of Harvin, who led the Vikings last season with 71 receptions for 868 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games with migraine problems.

"We did some things toward the end of the year where we definitely tried to isolate him, and that's one of the reasons I pulled him off kickoff (returns) at times. I wanted to feature him more than we were."

Frazier has been somewhat vague about the identity of the Vikings' offense since the hiring of coordinator Bill Musgrave on Jan. 19. But that seems to be a product of Frazier distancing himself from predecessor Brad Childress' rigid West Coast scheme, which players sometimes criticized for failing to play to the team's strengths.

"One of the things that we want to be able to do is just make sure we're featuring our key guys and making sure that the right people are getting the football in the right situations," Frazier said. "The system, at the same time, is geared to featuring our highlight group, and that's Percy, Adrian for sure, Visanthe (Shiancoe), hopefully we'll have Sidney (Rice) in the fold. But just being able to make sure we can get the ball to people who we want to get the ball to when we want to get the ball to them, as opposed to 'this is the system, and the system calls for doing it this way in this down and distance.'"

Another factor will be the skill set of whatever quarterback the Vikings select to direct the offense. The Vikings brought in Musgrave in largely because of his experience working with young passers, including Matt Ryan in Atlanta.

Frazier pointed to the Falcons' offense as an example of that can start with a running game (Michael Turner carried 334 times last season), incorporate multiple productive receivers (Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez combined for 2,045 yards and 16 touchdowns on 185 catches) and protect the football (plus-14 turnover ratio).

"Because of Adrian, there are opportunities that we can do on the perimeter that a lot of teams can't," Frazier said. "You still have to account for him on every single play. So, we have to be able to exploit in that sense and I think what we're trying to do is build to be able to do that."

Tyrell's time?

Even after safety Tyrell Johnson lost his starting job last summer, Vikings officials maintained they were high on the former second-round pick's potential.

Now, entering the final year of his rookie contract, Johnson may be down to his last chance to prove he's worth further development.

"I had a good conversation with him before we left at the end of the season," Frazier said. "He's got to step up -- we need him to step up. This is his year. We're counting on him to have a big year for us and push to be a starter for our football team. He makes us better if he does that, so he knows I've challenged him in some areas and he's got to come through for us. We're going to give him every chance to come through."

Johnson played alongside veteran Madieu Williams in 2009, when he was the full-time starter. Husain Abdullah showed promise as a first-time starter last season, though, and the plan is for Johnson to compete with Williams for the other starting job.

"He has the ability to play either one, so I don't want to pigeonhole him, but he'll come in competing with Madieu," Frazier said. "But (Johnson) has swing ability -- he's done both. We need him to step up. We need him to come through.

"He's got the physical tools to do it. Now, he's got to do the things a safety has to do --taking great angles, making plays and tackling in the open field. Being sure of himself, playing with confidence. ... This is the time."

Suspensions still on hold

Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed after his media conference that the NFL will continue its policy of waiting for all appeals to be heard in the StarCaps case before enforcing suspensions.

That could be significant for the Vikings because defensive tackle Kevin Williams has dropped his appeal, leaving longtime teammate Pat Williams -- a pending free agent who is unlikely to return to the Vikings -- as the lone plaintiff.

The league has tabled four-game suspensions for Kevin Williams, Pat Williams and three other NFL players since 2008 while the Williamses' lawsuit played out in courts. So, even though Kevin Williams has ended his legal fight, it appears he'll remain eligible as long as Pat Williams' continues.

Schedule changes

Frazier said he's "starting to move past" the idea of having his first minicamp as scheduled April 8 to 10 -- days after players' request for an injunction to end the lockout will be heard in a Minnesota courtroom.

But he has yet to discuss changes to the offseason schedule in detail with members of his staff, because "you don't want to alarm people but you have to know what the facts are.

"The fact is everything is on hold right now, but you don't want to create a sense of panic either that you're chasing ghosts," Frazier said. "We have some things in place. We have competent people in key positions that once we know what the rules are there is no question in my mind we'll be able to adjust and handle it. You just don't want people to feel like they have to be in a panic and we're not going to be able to accomplish what we have to get accomplished."

Quick hits

• Goodwell said he has been in touch with the Vikings and Ted Mondale, the head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Comission, about continuing to support the team's stadium push. "All efforts are to keep the team there," Goodell said. "I think there's some urgency to having the stadium addressed both in the short term and the long term. We have a short-term issue with the(Metrodome) itself, a long-term issue with getting a solution to that."

• On a mission trip to Africa, Peterson told an ESPN freelance writer he remains unconcerned about his contract, which is set to void after the season. "I'm watching the way different organizations act and watching the way my organization acts," said Peterson, who is due a team-high $10.72 million in 2011 but seems unlikely to play without a new deal. "I'm not worried about a contract. I've played hard and I think I've done pretty good. I thought maybe -- after a few years of doing good -- there'd be deal by now. But whatever. That's OK. I'm not desperately concerned about a contract."

• The draft still is more than a month away, but Frazier confirmed the Vikings have removed some players from their draft board because of character concerns. "There are some guys we've said, 'You know what? We're probably not going to go down that road,'" Frazier said.

• Asked which players he hopes will take on larger roles this season, the first player Frazier mentioned was offensive lineman Ryan Cook, who could factor in a competition at right guard with Anthony Herrera and Chris DeGeare.

• Frazier confirmed he has hired former Citadel quarterback and receivers coach Cameron Turner as his assistant, replacing Dennis Polian. "Dennis did a great job for me in the time that I was in that role," Frazier said. "We worked together and I'm going to miss him."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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2002