Leslie Frazier did everything he could to sell players on his gamble, despite signs Josh Freeman wasn't ready to play less than two weeks after signing with the Minnesota Vikings in October.

"You could tell Josh did not know the offense," said one of several Vikings players who spoke to USA TODAY Sports about the situation Tuesday. The players spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they weren't supposed to discuss team business publicly.

"Practices did not really go that well that week. But Coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, 'Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we've had all year.' And everyone's like, what? What are you talking about?"

Maybe Frazier felt pressure to play the talented quarterback general manager Rick Spielman had just given a $2 million contract for what amounted to a 12-week tryout. Or maybe Frazier was trying to convince himself he'd get a spark at the only position that could provide it.