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2012 Vikings Offseason: Leslie Frazier Believes Rookies Will Play Big Roles

After seeing his rookies in offseason OTAs and minicamps, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier came away pleased with their progress and looking forward to seeing the youngsters compete in pads, says Sid Hartman of the Star-Tribune.

The Vikings finished 3-13 last season, so left tackle Matt Kalil, the No. 4 overall selection out of USC, as well as former Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, the No. 29 overall pick, will be immediate upgrades to Minnesota's personnel. Frazier also praised cornerback Josh Robinson, the team's third-rounder, and former Arkansas receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs.

Kalil's development will be crucial so that the Vikings can protect quarterback Christian Ponder, their first-round pick in 2011. Frazier says facing off against Jared Allen and Brian Robinson in pads in training camp can only help Kalil get better quickly.

Hartman mentions that Ponder did not have much practice time before last season began, so his first true offseason with the team could be an opportunity for the former Florida State Seminole to make a big leap.

All told, early playing time is readily available in Minneapolis.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, check out the Daily Norseman, and head over to SBNation's NFL hub for all news and analysis.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.