Leslie Frazier always tries his best to say nothing. Cliches and generic unrevealing remarks are Frazier’s friends. It’s why people think he’s so boring (especially the media who would certainly be happier with a jovial Mike Tice type, or even the droning-but-occasionally-quotable Brad Childress). It’s also why he’s arguably the perfect coach for the very tight-lipped and corporate Zygi Wilf Vikings. From Rick Spielman on down, everyone in the organization is on-message all the time. No cracks. No leaks. Nothing getting out that doesn’t need to get out. No Rex Ryan moments.
But every now and then even the tight-lipped Leslie Frazier lets something slip. That happened to him today. And the funny thing is, it wasn’t even what he said, it was just how he said it. The words were the usual stuff from Frazier. But an ill-timed pause may have betrayed him. And provided a glimpse into what could turn out to be a very bad situation for the Vikings.
The slip came while Frazier was discussing Percy Harvin with the media on Wednesday. The questions were all about the state of Harvin’s ankle and his status for Sunday’s game. We learned on Tuesday that Harvin suffered a total ligament tear, something that can require up to 6 weeks to heal. But Harvin would still try to get on the field this Sunday, ahead of that 6 week schedule.
But something in Frazier’s comments, or maybe something someone got a whiff of elsewhere, prompted reporters to press him about Harvin. They asked him if there might be more to the Harvin situation than just the ankle. Here’s where Frazier slipped. He paused. Then he gave a standard generic Frazier answer. He said, “You know … I know that he wants to win like we do, and I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to do what he has to do to help our football team, and we’ll see where it goes.”
So what about that pause? Does it indicate that more is going on with Harvin than just a nagging injury? And what of that “I know that he wants to win like we do” line? That’s more-or-less the same thing Frazier said when grilled about Percy’s sideline blow-up during the Seattle game. It’s what Frazier always says when someone questions Harvin’s attitude. It’s always “Percy really wants to win.”
Frazier’s been around long enough now that we can sort of decode his cliches. And read his pauses. So even when he tries to say nothing, he still says a lot. Today he may have said that Percy Harvin is back to being a problem like he was during minicamp when he demanded a trade for reasons that were never entirely clarified. We have to ask if this might affect the Vikings’ future plans regarding Harvin. He has one year left on his contract after this year. He wants a long-term deal. Do the Vikings want to give a long-term deal to a guy who gives them headaches and possibly is causing behind-the-scenes problems for his young, struggling quarterback?
Is Percy Harvin valuable enough to be given the Randy Moss hold-your-nose-and-live-with it treatment? Or has Harvin already reached the point Moss did when the Vikings unloaded him on the Raiders? Has he already worn out his welcome? Could the Vikes trade Harvin in the offseason? All those questions are now in play. Thanks to one ill-timed pause.
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