INDIANAPOLIS — Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that defensive line would be an area the club seeks to address this offseason, but didn't specify how that change would come about.
Frazier faces a difficult situation with starting DE Ray Edwards looking for a big payday in free agency, and one of his backups, Brian Robison, also eligible for free agency. The current CBA situation also makes things difficult for Frazier, but he seems intent on improving the position.
"We are going to try to upgrade our defensive line — it may be through the draft, it may be through free agency, but that's an area where we want to do some things to really help our defensive line," Frazier said. "We're aging at one of the spots, and we need to do some things to improve it. One of our mantras has been being good against the run, being able to stop the run. And we kind of slipped a little bit (last year)."
Not helping the situation is DE Everson Griffen's latest legal troubles. The talented second-year player was arrested twice in three days in early February, once for being drunk in public and once for being found with an invalid driver's license.
"You don't want to see your players' names in the papers for negative situations, so anytime it happens, that becomes a concern," Frazier said. "I had to talk with him about a few things and just remind about what was important to us as an organization and as a football team. Hopefully for us that's something that's behind us."
Fortunately for Frazier, this draft class is generally regarded as being outstanding at the defensive line position. Frazier recognized this depth, especially at the top with DT Nick Fairley and DE Da'Quan Bowers.
"It's a deep group on the defensive line, but there are some other positions also where there is some depth and we have got to determine what direction we want to go in the draft, especially early," Frazier said. "But (Fairley and Bowers), they're quality players, but there are others. They're not the only two good defensive linemen, there are some quality players in that group."
Frazier pointed to campus visits as an important part of the evaluation process, in determining who they want to select come late April.
"We've got a little homework to do, and this is a partner process, being able sit down with someone and talk to them and get a chance to watch them work out," Frazier said. "But the campus visits will be important as well, just seeing them in their environment, spending some time with them, and see if they fit what we're trying to do."