SB Nation Minnesota
Stay connected for news and updates Follow @sbnminnesota
Like us to subscribe
Christian Ponder didn't have a "great" game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday - he was mistake prone and ultimately looked like a rookie. But, he did make an awful lot of good throws and looked as good as most rookies have lately, throwing for good yardage and almost leading the Minnesota Vikings to a win over the undefeated Packers. He threw for over 200 yards and had two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions.
Regardless of the statline and the fact that the Vikings lost, the fact is that they were right in the thick of a game that most figured they had no place being in. Ponder kept the team in and fought until the last seconds and that is, quite honestly, more than Donovan McNabb has been able to do. Not only was McNabb benched in favor of Ponder due to his poor performance on the field, there's rumors leaking out about McNabb's work ethic and his dedication to the team and being at his best.
Just a week ago, the question was posed :"Is this the last time we'll see McNabb as a viable starter in the NFL?" After Ponder's performance, and these rumors, the answer is likely "yes." McNabb isn't going to be the future of any franchise and utterly failed in his ability to even be a serviceable stopgap this season in Minnesota. Is he going to get signed in the offseason?
There's a decent chance that some team will bring him in as a backup if he's willing, but don't bet on any team signing him with intentions of handing him the starting job.
Give the Minnesota Vikings credit. . .they fought as much as they could in this one, as they were down a number of defensive backs and had to shuffle their offensive line. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough in the end, as they fell by a final tally of 33-27 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome.
Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder had numerous highs and lows in his first ever National Football League start. He completed just 13 of 32 passes on the afternoon for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw two interceptions that derailed Minnesota drives in the third quarter, but overall the offense looked significantly better under Ponder than it did in the first six games of the year under Donovan McNabb's. . .ahem. . ."leadership."
Ponder got off to a very nice start, as on his first play of the game he found Michael Jenkins on the left sideline for a 72-yard gain. It looked as though Jenkins had gone the distance, but after a review was found to have gone out of bounds at the 1-yard line. It didn't matter, though, as two plays later Ponder found Visanthe Shiancoe for a 7-0 Minnesota lead.
The Packers answered back with a nine-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to John Kuhn to tie the game at seven. After an exchange of punts, the Vikings had to punt away again, but rookie Randall Cobb muffed a fair catch attempt and the Vikings took over at midfield. They turned that drive into a 1-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run, and the Vikings' lead went to 14-7. The teams then traded field goals to move the score to 17-10, and another Mason Crosby field goal as the first half came to an end made it 17-13 going into the locker room.
The Green Bay offense blistered the Vikings in the third quarter, however, as the second play of the frame saw Aaron Rodgers find a wide open Greg Jennings thanks to a blown coverage that gave them a 79-yard touchdown pass and a 20-17 lead. After a big punt return by Cobb, the Packers got into the end zone again with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley to make the score 27-17. The Packers added two more Crosby field goals before the quarter ended, making it 33-17 going into the fourth quarter.
A Ryan Longwell field goal early in the fourth cut the deficit to 33-20, and Ponder led a 93-yard drive that concluded with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins to cut it to 33-27. After getting the ball back, Vikings' coach Leslie Frazier made a decision that will be talked about for the next few days, to be sure.
The Vikings had the ball on their own 36-yard line with a little more than two and a half minutes left to play, having all three of their time outs and the two-minute warning. Facing a 4th-and-10 situation, Frazier sent Chris Kluwe on the field to punt the ball away rather than risking going for it. The Packers got the ball and were able to run out the clock after a couple of runs by James Starks, and eventually knelt down to secure the victory.
The loss for the Vikings sends them to 1-6 on the season, while Green Bay remains the only undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0. The Vikings travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers next week.
Christian Ponder is a rookie quarterback. He's had some bad moments this afternoon, with the two interceptions to Charles Woodson, but he's just led the Vikings down the field and put them back to within one score of the Green Bay Packers.
After getting pinned at their own 7-yard line after a penalty on a punt return, the Vikings went to work, and Ponder was leading the way. He made a couple of great third down conversions, including a scrambling 16-yarder to Greg Camarillo that got an extra 15 yards tacked on thanks to a late hit by Green Bay linebacker and performance-enhancing drug enthusiast Clay Matthews.
On the next play, Ponder dropped back to pass, fired one to the left to Michael Jenkins, and Jenkins hauled it in for a 24-yard touchdown catch. Ryan Longwell added the extra point, and the Vikings now trail 33-27.
This has been a pretty good game so far, but now the Vikings' defense has to go out and stop the high-powered Packers' offense to keep hope alive.
Minnesota allowed Green Bay rookie returner Randall Cobb a massive punt return after a three-and-out on their first second half drive, putting the Packers at the Minnesota 32-yard line. It didn't take them long from there, as they required only four plays to move those 32 yards into the end zone, with the final play coming on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley. The extra point by Mason Crosby gave the Packers a 27-17 lead after they had trailed during the entire first half.
So far this season, the Minnesota Vikings have been outscored by 51 points in the third quarter of games. They need to reverse this trend in a hurry if they don't want things to get any worse.
With 10:29 left in the third quarter of play, the Minnesota Vikings trail the Green Bay Packers by a score of 27-17.
Well, that didn't take long.
On a play that will feature one of the worst blown coverages that you'll ever see, the Vikings allowed Greg Jennings to slip behind the defense, and Aaron Rodgers found him without a purple jersey within 20 yards of him. Jennings did the rest, and the result was a 79-yard touchdown that put the Packers on top for the first time today.
The third quarter has been a torture chamber for the Vikings so far this season, and this one is looking to follow the same pattern, as the Vikings trail for the first time today. The drive took only 51 seconds and two plays for the Packers to complete.
It will be interesting to see how the Vikings respond to this one. It does appear that offensive guard Anthony Herrera is back in the game after a knee injury at the end of the second quarter.
The Vikings gave the Packers the ball back after the Ryan Longwell field goal with 55 seconds remaining, and the Packers starting at their own 20-yard line.
The Packers did manage to move the ball a ways downfield, aided by a dumb personal foul penalty on LeTroy Guion for roughing the passer, but it ultimately wasn't enough. The Packers were called for delay of game with ten seconds left, and Aaron Rodgers' third-down pass for James Starks fell incomplete. The Packers had to settle for Mason Crosby's second field goal of the day, a 45-yarder to cut Minnesota's lead to 17-13.
At halftime, Aaron Rodgers is 17/20 for 197 yards and a touchdown for the Packers, while Green Bay's running backs have combined for 36 yards on 8 carries. For Minnesota, Christian Ponder is doing his best to keep pace, completing 8-of-14 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe. The Vikings' rushing attack has put together 15 carries for 87 yards, including 11 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown for Adrian Peterson.
Jared Allen registered two sacks in the first half of play, giving him 11.5 on the season thus far. He has also registered a sack in nine consecutive games going back to last season, which sets a new Vikings' record.
Minnesota moved the ball 46 yards in 11 plays, taking four minutes off of the clock and leaving little time before the halftime break for Green Bay. The highlights of the drive were a couple of third down conversions by Christian Ponder, one to Visanthe Shiancoe for 10 yards on 3rd-and-7, and another to Percy Harvin for 9 yards on 3rd-and-8. Adrian Peterson also had a 29-yard run on the drive to get the Vikings into Packer territory.
Eventually, the Minnesota drive stalled, and the team was forced to send Ryan Longwell onto the field for a 52-yard field goal attempt, which he drilled dead center.
With 55 seconds remaining in the first half of play, the Packers will start out at their own 20-yard line and all of their time outs. Here's hoping that the Vikings can slow them down, because the Packers will get the ball to start the second half.
The Packers were at the Vikings' 15-yard line, but Jared Allen's second sack of the day pushed them back six yards to the 21. On third down, Aaron Rodgers thought he had hit an open Randall Cobb over the middle, but the pass bounced off of the rookie's hands to the turf for an incompletion.
Mason Crosby then came in and hit a 39-yard field goal for the Packers, and the lead was cut to 14-10. After the play, a fight erupted on the field, and defensive end Brian Robison was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the kickoff, Crosby put the ball through the end zone, and the Vikings will start out at their own 20.
With 4:55 remaining in the first half, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Green Bay Packers by a score of 14-10.
If the Vikings are going to go down today, they're sure as heck going to go down swinging.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Vikings were forced to punt from their own end zone, but Packers' rookie returner Randall Cobb muffed an attempt at a fair catch, and Toby Gerhart fell on it at midfield to give the Vikings the ball back. From there, the Vikings moved nicely downfield with a nice combination of running and passing, including a couple of really nice throws from Christian Ponder to Percy Harvin and then Michael Jenkins.
A 10-yard run for Adrian Peterson gave Minnesota the ball inside the 1-yard line and then, following the lead blocking of LeTroy Guion. . .yes, defensive tackle LeTroy Guion. . .Peterson plowed into the end zone for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead.
Thus far, Ponder is 5-of-8 for 105 yards and a touchdown. Peterson has nine carries for 38 yards and a score.
The Minnesota Vikings are down a lot of bodies on defense this afternoon against the Green Bay Packers, but they're going to have to put up a lot more of a fight than this if they want to have a puncher's chance against the Super Bowl champions.
After a penalty on the kickoff return put the Packers at their own 9-yard line, the Packers made it look far too easy to move down the field. They moved the 91 yards in just nine plays, taking 5:24 off of the clock to do so. The drive concluded with Aaron Rodgers hitting fullback John Kuhn from two yards out for a Green Bay touchdown.
Rodgers was 6-for-6 on the drive for 74 yards, and hasn't even really been harassed by the Vikings' defense thus far. Again, Fred Pagac is going to have to find a way to get some pressure on him.
With 8:34 left in the first quarter, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are tied at seven.
Well, it appears that the Christian Ponder era in Minnesota is off to a decent start.
On the Vikings' first play from scrimmage, Ponder faked a handoff to Adrian Peterson, and lofted a rainbow down the left sideline to a wide open Michael Jenkins. Jenkins went the rest of the way for what appeared to be a touchdown for Minnesota, but he was ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
It didn't matter, though. . .after a loss of a yard by Peterson, Ponder rolled out to his right and hit Visanthe Shiancoe in the back right corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 Minnesota lead.
Clifton is the big one for the Packers here, obviously. That means that either Brian Robison or Jared Allen will be going up against a backup tackle this afternoon, which gives a small boost to Minnesota's relatively slim chances.
Berrian is a surprise inactive, after his "breakout" game of five catches for 54 yards against the Bears last weekend. Speaking of "breakouts," Cook is in jail. Sanford and Sullivan both have concussions, and Winfield is still battling a neck injury.
Those are your inactives for this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We're about an hour or so from game time, and we'll have all of your updates on the game right here. Or, you can check out the Game Thread at The Daily Norseman for the best in-game discussion of all the Vikings' action.
Adrian Peterson. That's the only name I would touch on the Vikings this week against the Packers, but don't be surprised if he's shut down similarly to last week if the Packers jump out to a huge lead.
The Minnesota Vikings will play the Green Bay Packers this weekend in a battle of the two teams at the top and bottom of the NFC North. Though the odds are obviously stacked against the Vikings, at least injuries shouldn't be too much of a concern this weekend.
The Vikings final injury report of the week was released on Friday afternoon with no major causes for concern. Percy Harvin (ribs) and Phil Loadholt (knee) were both able to participate in part of Friday's practice after being held out on Wednesday and are listed as probable to play in this weekend's rivalry game. E.J. Henderson is also probable after going through a full practice on Friday.
Other players appearing on the Friday injury report include Steve Hutchinson (knee) and Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) being probable and Jamarca Sanford (concussion), John Sullivan (concussion) and Antoine Winfield (neck) currently doubtful for this weekend's game.
The Packers will be without three starters as Chad Clifton, Frank Zombo and Mike Neal all continue to recover from injury. Cornerback Sam Shields is doubtful while Ryan Pickett is questionable due to issues related to concussions.
For more on the Vikings, visit SB Nation's Daily Norseman
The Minnesota Vikings are 1-5 on the season and hosting the defending champion, undefeated Green Bay Packers. Things aren't looking great, but they are giving rookie quarterback Christian Ponder the start and are hoping for good things from him - something to build on. Be sure to head on over to the Daily Norseman for more on the game and the team in general.