Before the 2012 season got underway, Percy Harvin expressed great displeasure with his role within the Vikings offense and requested a trade at one point. Instead of trading him, Leslie Frazier talked with Harvin about his concerns and apparently Harvin was happy with what he heard. If wasn’t completely happy at that point, he has to be now because he is in the middle of an MVP-type season.
After a pitiful loss to the Indianapolis Colts, veteran defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Jared Allen appealed to the coaching staff to let them simplify the defense and simply allow the front four to do their thing. The result has been games like we saw this last weekend, where the defense amassed seven sacks despite the fact that they blitzed on exactly zero snaps.
This coaching staff is seemingly willing to listen to their productive players, but they also seem willing to listen to their fan base. When the Vikings had red zone struggles in the red zone against Washington, the coaching staff didn’t get defensive and chippy about the matter like we might expect from the rex Ryans and Pete Carrolls of the world.
Instead, the Vikings coaching staff admitted that they weren’t proud of their decisions and vowed to fix the problem. And, really, they succeeded. The Vikings made two trips to the red zone on Sunday, and they scored touchdowns on each of them.
The coaching staff had to know they were going to hear about their lack of passing production on Sunday. At one point, Christian Ponder was sarcastically cheered by the home crowd when he opted to throw away a football when he was under pressure, as earlier he had chucked picks under similar pressure. If that wasn’t enough, the home crowd was so disinterested in the yawn-inducing game that they collectively jeered the referees for a call against the Cardinals because they weren’t paying close enough attention to realize the call had actually gone in the Vikings favor.
Everybody involved with Christian Ponder’s dismal day (35.5 passer rating) seemed to acknowledge that improvement was needed if their winning ways are to continue.
“A lot of it had to do with what they were doing defensively,” Frazier said of his offense’s struggles against the Cardinals. “Some of the things they were able to take away from what we wanted to get accomplished in the passing game.”
Frazier went on to vow that Ponder will continue to improve as an NFL passer.
So far this season, when the Vikings coaching staff says something is going to improve, it has come to fruition pretty quickly. We may have our reasons to doubt Ponder’s abilities in the immediate future, but his first chance to prove us wrong will come very quickly.
In three short days, the Vikings will take on Tampa Bay… who have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL.