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Vikings coaches side with owners

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Vikings coaches side with owners
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BROOKLYN CENTER (AP) -- Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier says Vikings coaches stand firmly behind their owners in the NFL labor dispute and were not consulted before the NFL Coaches Association filed a brief supporting the players.

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

The NFLCA filed a brief in court last month backing the players in the labor fight. But Frazier says his coaching staff was never contacted by the association and will "always be supportive of our management."

"It really doesn't in a lot of ways pertain to us because we had no say in it as a staff. ... 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," Frazier said.

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.

"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.

He 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 man Joe Webb is another option, but all signs point to Ponder being the quarterback of the future in Minnesota.

If the Vikings get back to work some time fairly soon, Frazier said, there is a realistic chance of getting Ponder ready to start Week 1. But if the lockout drags on, the Vikings 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."

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