Frazier, Vikings head to London, stand behind Ponder

September 23 - The Sports Xchange

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Coach Leslie Frazier, who was at his best a year ago when he stayed calm and resisted kneejerk reactions with his team slumping at 6-6, says there will be no personnel changes made to try and shake up a team that won 10 games and made the playoffs a year ago.

"I don't know if change for the sake of change is the right thing to do, from my perspective," said Frazier, whose team left Monday for a "home" game at London against the Steelers. "You got to be able to stand in front of the guys in the locker room and talk to them about why you're making the change. Then it's got to be something you feel like is going to help your football team be successful. So change for change sake - I don't totally buy into that."

The Vikings struggled in all three phases and coaching on Sunday, a 31-27 loss in the home opener to the Cleveland Browns.

The four-minute offense failed to close out a game for the second week in a row when quarterback Christian Ponder overthrew an open Greg Jennings on third-and-four with 3 1/2 minutes left and the Vikings up by three. The two-minute defense also collapsed again on a drive that resulted in the other team throwing a game-winning touchdown in the final minute. And the special teams made two horrendous gaffes, getting beat for 34 yards on a fake punt and for a touchdown on a fake field goal.

From a coaching standpoint, there's no excuse for Frazier and his staff losing the home opener to Cleveland. Frazier looked as dejected as he ever has after Sunday's game. But by Monday, he appeared ready for the challenge in a way similar to last year when the Vikings went into the final four games needing to win all four to make the playoffs.

Like then, Frazier is now refusing to make a change at quarterback even though he now has a better option in Matt Cassel, who was signed in the offseason.

"(Ponder) made some plays for us that we needed," Frazier said. "There were some other plays that we needed to make that we didn't always get. But he'll have to keep growing and keep developing. We're doing enough things that are not right across the board that are affecting our won-loss record, and it's not just the quarterback position. He has to play better, but so do some other groups on our football team. I don't think where we are is necessarily purely because of Christian Ponder."

Ponder once again talked about a lack of execution and the need - again - to fix it.

"We have to fix it," he said. "Otherwise, we're going to be 0-16."


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