Leslie Frazier: League called to discuss officiating in Baltimore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Leslie Frazier was back at the
Minnesota Vikings’ team headquarters on Monday following Sunday’s crazy finish
and 29-26 loss at Baltimore.

Frazier said after the game he was “bewildered”
with a couple of officiating calls in the loss, including several key calls
that might have helped determine the outcome. Monday he received a call from
the league, unsolicited and unlike some of the typical Monday calls coaches
will make in regard to refereeing.

Frazier wouldn’t say the league apologized to him for the
calls in Sunday’s game, but the point of the call was made clear.

“It was a good conversation,” Frazier said Monday.
“When we got off the phone, I said if I were asked the question you just
asked, I would reference any comments to the league office. But the fact that
they called should give you an indication of how they felt about things on that
day. Without any provocation from me, so that was encouraging that they wanted
to talk about that game from yesterday.”

Two officiating decisions, in particular, might have changed
the game on Sunday. In the first quarter on Sunday, Minnesota running back Toby
Gerhart lost the ball on a carry up the middle; it was ruled a fumble and
recovered by Baltimore.

Reviews showed Gerhart’s knee was down before the ball
popped loose, but referee Peter Morelli stuck with the original call on the
field of a fumble, later stating to a pool reporter that he didn’t see enough
evidence to overturn the call on the field. The Ravens scored a touchdown four
players later to open the scoring.

“Said it wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn,”
Frazier said of the explanation on Gerhart’s fumble. “That’s what I was
told on the field.”

Frazier said Sunday’s call from the league was broad and not
just about the Gerhart fumble, but they did talk about that play. Frazier
wouldn’t add specifics on what the discussion was about or if the league
apologized for the error. He said he received a similar call from the league
earlier this year, but wouldn’t divulge the reasons for that particular call
either.

On Baltimore’s game-winning drive on Sunday, Vikings
linebacker Chad Greenway was called for a pass interference penalty on Ravens tight
end Dennis Pitta. Greenway did make contact with Pitta, who fell on the play,
but it was questionable whether he interfered. The penalty negated an Andrew
Sendejo interception, which would have allowed Minnesota to run out the clock
and win the game.

“It was difficult,” Frazier said of dealing with
the officiating. “But every team deals with it and just got to try to find
a way to overcome some of the things that happen during the course of a
ballgame, the adversity that occurs.”

Frazier hit by snowball: MVP running back Adrian Peterson,
who was out with a sprained foot in the fourth quarter, took to Twitter on
Sunday to blast the officiating and Baltimore fans for throwing snowballs on
Sunday.

When asked if he had seen the snowballs fly towards his
team, Frazier said: “No, I felt a snowball on my back, too. I felt it,
too. It was not specific to anyone, anyone wearing purple. It’s not what the
league wants, not what anybody wants.”

Frazier said he didn’t talk with the league or personnel in
Baltimore about the incident.

“It’s something we’ll talk about,” Frazier said.
“I didn’t talk about it after the game. But I did see snowballs coming.
Didn’t address it right after the game, there were so many things on my mind,
obviously, at that time. But it’s definitely something we’ll have to talk with
our security about and make our league aware of as well.”

Fullback Jerome Felton said, “They were throwing
snowballs at our bench. I didn’t pay too much attention. Obviously, it’s
annoying. It’s not very classy. But that’s their prerogative.”

No decision on quarterback: Frazier wouldn’t commit to a
starting quarterback on Monday for next week’s home game against Philadelphia.

Frazier said Christian Ponder passed his concussion testing
after being out all last week.

“I did find out this morning, he did pass
everything,” Frazier said. “So he’s cleared now. We’ll sit down today
as a staff and talk about how we want to go forward at the quarterback
position.”

The Vikings have been officially eliminated from the
playoffs and Frazier will have to decide between Ponder, who entered the year
as the starter, Cassel, who started last week’s game, and Josh Freeman, who the
team signed in October to see if he could be the long-term answer at the
position.

Frazier complimented Cassel for Sunday’s performance in
which he went 17-of-38 passing for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

“I thought he did some good things, protected the ball,
avoided sacks, got us in some good plays,” Frazier said. “Really got
us going there in the fourth quarter. We were struggling to stay on field in
third down throughout most of the game and then in the fourth quarter we
started hitting our stride a little bit. So I thought he played a pretty solid
game.”

Stuck in Baltimore: Minnesota ended up getting stuck in
Baltimore after the team’s plane was hit by a catering truck at the airport.
The Vikings ended up staying in the locker room for a few hours before heading
to the airport. The team returned to Minnesota after midnight

“Probably about three hours,” Felton said of the
delay. “It was pretty miserable, but things happen I guess. I don’t know
how exactly that happens, but I’m sure some heads are rolling on that one.”

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