MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The oldest player on the Minnesota Vikings this season not named Brett Favre was sitting in the locker room recently when he started assessing the team’s future.

“They’ll need to rebuild around here,” defensive tackle Pat Williams said. “It’s going to be kind of rough.”

Williams is one of several high-profile players with expiring contracts on the team as the Vikings move forward with new head coach Leslie Frazier and try to rebound from a 6-10 debacle that was a far cry from a Super-Bowl-or-bust campaign.

“It will be dramatically different. We have a number of free agents,” Frazier said. “But that’s not any different than most teams in the NFL. You go through an evolution almost every season it seems, with roster change.”

Frazier insisted the Vikings are closing to returning to the NFL’s elite, and owner Zygi Wilf echoed the sentiment in a separate interview after Frazier was introduced on Monday.

Frazier and vice president for player personnel Rick Spielman will have to make a series of savvy moves for that to happen, though.

Williams isn’t likely to be re-signed, and three other starters in the front seven — defensive end Ray Edwards and linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber — have deals that are coming due. So does wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Underperforming, expensive players like wide receiver Bernard Berrian and starting safety Madieu Williams will be critically analyzed. Running back Adrian Peterson could be in line for a hefty contract extension, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe will also enter the final year of his deal.

Then, of course, there’s the unsettled quarterback situation with Favre’s declared retirement.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it wasn’t pretty green on this side either,” said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, whose contract is up, too. He added: “A fresh start might be good. Who knows? I’m just looking forward.”

Berrian said he had a “great” conversation with Frazier on Monday and expressed optimism about bouncing back from the least productive season of his career. Edwards said Frazier’s hiring wouldn’t have a bearing on where he decides to play, and it’s possible the Vikings won’t pursue him whenever free agency begins in an offseason dominated by NFL labor negotiations and the possibility of a lost season.

Greenway said his hope is to stay in Minnesota, but he acknowledged some anxiety from the uncertainty.

“I have kids and a wife that wants to know where she’s going to live next year, and that’s all part of it too,” Greenway said, adding: “Can’t do too much about it. Just going to stay patient.”

Frazier will stress stronger participation in the team’s offseason programs. Several stars skipped some or all of them last year, with Peterson missing minicamp and Favre refusing to commit until mid-August.

“We really want to be all-inclusive. We want to be team-first,” Frazier said. “That means some guys are going to have to sacrifice some things this offseason and be a part of the team.”

Wide receiver Percy Harvin, one of the players who worked out on his own last spring and summer instead of at Winter Park, said he’s on board with Frazier.

Harvin said he’ll spend some time training with Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson this year but will participate in the offseason practices (OTAs, in NFL lingo). That’s if they’re held and the owners don’t declare a lockout, of course.

“Everybody thought, with everybody coming back that we just were magically going to make it to the Super Bowl this year,” Harvin said. “So I think a lot of people got a wakeup call, myself included. So we’re all ready to get this thing rolling.”

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie sounded ready, too. He’s hired a personal trainer to follow him around the country — “even if I’m on vacation,” he said — and vowed to drop 20 pounds to get back to his college weight. That means he was pushing 360 pounds this season.

“Quickness, endurance, just a lot of stuff,” McKinnie said. “I’m getting older, too. So when you get older you’ve got to make sure you handle those things.”

Frazier didn’t offer any specifics about what, if any, schematic changes he’ll make, but he said he’ll evaluate all of the systems including the defense. Linebackers coach Fred Pagac made the game-day calls when Frazier took over, ordering more blitzes. The strategy was particularly effective in the win at Philadelphia last week.

Some of the coaching staff could change, too. Frazier said he wants a run-first offense to feature Peterson more prominently, but he wasn’t ready to name his preference for a particular system.

“I don’t want to be married to anything,” Frazier said. “I want to really open it up and make sure we’re doing the right thing that ensures that we have the best chance at being successful.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (18)
  1. DoesitMatter says:

    I never liked the run first mentality. Too reliant on the Defense to get and hold onto a lead. We need a hell of a Dfense…like the Bears…and an aggressive offense…like the Pats

  2. Tailgunner says:

    May I suggest we get a couple of WR’s…..We have none !!! A gimpy Rice is useless…………

    1. Jim says:

      I agree with the need for a deep threat reciever and a another across the midle reciever. Getting areplacement at left tackel would really be nice

  3. anon says:

    Yep, definally will be different. Hopefully for the better, we need to build around AP, Harvin, Rice, Allen, K.Williams. Everyone else should be looked at closely.

  4. Bill says:

    a new stadium in California would help.

    1. Jarlaxle says:

      You can go to California, Bill. Vikes stay here.

    2. Jimmy says:

      Right on Bill perfect just perfect…

      This team will always let you down always!

      1. Shan says:

        No comments from the peanut gallery

  5. Itsme says:

    If I only had a nickle for every time…………….
    What else is he going to say? Don’t pay me til its over?
    L.A. does not have ice issues and may even soon be an island.

  6. MIkanuk "Larry" says:

    Like it or not, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings contribute largely to the Twin Cities economy. Plus, if the Vikings were to leave, a lot of people would be out of jobs as well as a lot of taxes not being able to be paid.

    Of course, I always provide a solution in any situation, as well as to the Vikings’ multiple dilemmas. The coach situation has already been worked out.

    Therefore, the only other issue is the “Damn Dome,” as locals begrudgingly call it. The solution is to invest in a retractable, snow-proof roof and simply refurbish what’s already in place, such as new seating and design. Such an effort couldn’t cost more than the 3 million dollars for the roof, 5 to 10 million tops. How much the new seats and stadium redesign couldn’t be much more than the roof.

    Also, how about re-designing the MOA Field, like adding 5,000 to 10,000 additional seats, if possible? With the roof and stadium redesign in total, the costs are surely not going to be anywhere near or over one billion dollars, as the cost of a new stadium surely would.

    It should be noted that these comments are simply suggestions. Additionally, I tend to think things through. However, it’s a very cost-effective suggestion, especially in light of ‘CCO’s “New Economy.” What say you?

    1. northvikesfan says:

      Larry, I agree. The Dome is a realistic approach to the expense of a new stadium. This would take some cooperation from a few different groups but lets be real. Renovating the Dome is a good choice, add more vendor sites, more suites and better restroom facilities. With a different roof system. It does not have to be retractable at all. Also if our Vikes leave, Minnesota loses in many ways. To those haters that want them gone don’t watch and quit chiming in with irritating remarks. This will take alot of work but it can be done.

  7. mac p says:

    A retractable, snow-proof roof and simply refurbish what’s already in place, such as new seating and design would cost a mere 400 million dollars.

    Let’s just fix the HHH Metrodome for now. The state has first got to figure out how to deal with a 6 Billion dollar deficit.

    And if Ziggy doesn’t like it, too bad.

    1. Shan says:

      How about we deal with the deficit by collecting taxes on wages that people make while they are working? Since quite a few construction and electrical workers are collecting unemployment, I am sure their added taxes might help. Geee, what could we do to put people to work, one where they would have a job for more than a year? One that relies on the construction trades? Last time I checked, construction relies on a growing economy. What could we build that would put people to work? Damn, I am stumped.

  8. Murph says:

    Hrers the plan,draft,in no particular order,OL Cannon ,Ostrue and Costanzo,wr Holmes,you’ll know him by draft day,And cbs,two safetys and a DL or two.All of a sudden you have a team that can run sweeps and draws and be more unpredictable on offense and sturdier on pass defense.Now you have a chance to succeed.Something we did not have this year!

  9. gdeli says:

    good one itsme. They aren’t going anywhere without protecting the qb and a good pass defense. that’s it.

  10. vikesfan87 says:

    I agree with Larry and everybody else who is on board with fixing the Metrodome’s roof. I say have the same roof as Ford Field does, instead of cheap and easy to tear teflon. Also, get rid of both right and left tackles but keep the guards.