Vikings support owners despite lockout's effect on QB picture

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that his staff stands firmly behind the owners in the league's labor dispute and wasn't consulted before the NFL Coaches Association filed a brief supporting the players.

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Frazier spoke while Vikings coaches, officials and alumni gathered to build a playground at Northport Elementary School in suburban Minneapolis.

"It really doesn't in a lot of ways pertain to us because we had no say in it as a staff," Frazier said of the brief that the NFLCA filed last month. "... I just know for us being supportive of the Wilf family and the Minnesota Vikings' organization is where our staff really feels is important to us."

The brief drew some attention when it was filed because it appeared to provide the first insight into a split between the owners and the coaches during the labor standoff. A number of teams have come out in recent weeks saying the same thing as the Vikings, including the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.

"We've got great management here in Minnesota," Frazier said. "The Wilf family has been terrific to our employees. But no, we were not contacted by the coaches association regarding that brief."

Frazier also said the lockout is causing the Vikings to consider canceling training camp in Mankato. Frazier said team officials will meet next week and come up with an exact date at which point, if there is still a lockout, that portion of training camp will be scratched.

The Vikings have held training camp in the town 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities for 45 years.

"We're going to probably come to a conclusion in the middle of next week as to the exact date we would say, if we don't know anything by that date, we probably won't be going to Mankato," Frazier said. "But we're still discussing that."

Frazier hopes it doesn't comes to that. He's beginning his first full season as an NFL head coach and is breaking in a rookie quarterback in first-round draft pick Christian Ponder. So Frazier needs all the time he can get.

Frazier said the Vikings are still mulling bringing in a veteran quarterback to take over early in the season before handing things over to Ponder. Second-year pro Joe Webb is another option, but all signs point to Ponder being the quarterback of the future in Minnesota.

If the Vikings return to work some time fairly soon, Frazier said, there is a realistic chance of having Ponder ready to start Week 1. But if the lockout drags, the team could be forced to go another direction at the outset.

"Each scenario kind of presents its own challenges, and we're not married to any scenario at this point," Frazier said. "But there will come a time when you get so far into it where we'll have to make a decision for what's best for Christian and whether you can put him out there without having a preseason, if that's the case."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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