Once again, I solicited questions from you guys and spent some time thinking about the answers.  Here are the results:

Adam, to what degree do you think poor offensive line play and a weak receiving corps are having on the performance of Christian Ponder?

Football is a team sport, no doubt about it.  The thing is, however, that football is a unique team sport in that one position is far and away more important than all of the rest.  Argue all you want, but quarterbacks make and break football teams in the modern day NFL.

Now, I’m not making excuses for the receivers dropping the football or for failings in pass protection, but Christian Ponder has to embrace the leadership role he is lucky enough to have before he flat out loses it.  He has to gather the troops, make clear his expectations, lead by example and demand more of himself with every lesson learned.

I think, especially with Harvin sidelined, Ponder has indeed drawn the short straw when it comes to receiver talent.  However, that offensive line is better than people are giving credit for, and if he stopped imagining non-existent pressure causing him to flee the pocket (and, thus, creating pressure by changing directions) I think the line holds up better than most realize.

Also, apologists can make all of the excuses they want for Ponder, but he has the best running back in football right now making life a heck of a lot easier on him than it could be.

Do you think we may want to take a look at Alex Smith and possibly work out a trade?  What would you think about trading AD for A. Smith, Frank Gore and Randy Moss?

I think you need to put down the blueberry wine.

Frank Gore and Randy Moss, at this stage in their careers, would be about as counterproductive to the rebuilding efforts of this franchise as signing the cast of GLEE to play in the defensive backfield.

Alex Smith is the most realistic part of this question, as other sites have discussed this idea already, but I don’t see what the benefit would be here.  Smith is an incredibly similar player, albeit more accomplished, as Ponder.  Smith, however, is four years older and has less upside.

Smith’s recent post-benching comments suggest he desires a starting role and while I would love to see him in Minnesota as a backup option, I don’t think he possesses the qualities to be a franchise quarterback.

My biggest knock on Christian Ponder has been that he has yet to carry this team on his back and will them to victory, in any instance, and has only proven to be an inconsistent game manager.  Smith has proven to be a fairly consistent game manager, but I don’t see him ever going into berserk mode and dominating a football game.

Ponder may never be able to reach those levels either, but that is still a debatable question mark.  With Smith, there is really no debate that what-you-see is what-you-get.

I read everyday about the Vikings running the ball and the opponent about how they’re going to stop it. Why don’t the Vikings come up with pass play down the field to catch the defense off guard and score some points?

Christian Ponder threw ten passes against the Bears that traveled more than ten yards down field (through the air) and none of them were completions.  Inaccurate throws, penalties, interceptions, and dropped passes made up all of those various unsuccessful shots.

The truth is that the Vikings would probably love to take more shots down the field and, as Randy would say, take the top off the defense.  They just aren’t built for it, unfortunately, as Jerome Simpson’s drops and out-of-bounds fade routes just aren’t getting the job done.

It is also the nature of a Bill Musgrave offense to utilize short, high-percentage passes in an attempt to maintain possession of the football.  I can’t say that I am a huge fan of this approach all the time, but it does have its merits.

Personally, I still can’t figure out why Kyle Rudolph isn’t running a seam route four to eight times a game, so maybe the solution is there but Musgrave is just refusing to use it.

Adam do you think any of our coaches should be back next year?

Yes, I do.  I think Leslie Frazier and Alan Williams should both come back for another go of it.  Musgrave has a lot to prove over the remaining weeks.  Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer deserves some sort of medal, in my book, for how much his unit has improved and for personally staking his reputation on a rookie kicker in Blair Walsh.

Frazier is the biggest question right now, and it does appear to be a legitimate question, but I just like the guy.  I think he has made fewer mistakes this year, trust he will make fewer mistakes next year, and has an attitude and composure about him that Minnesotan’s can be proud of.  His team can be frustrating, as we all know, but I think he is the right guy to lead these young men through the rebuilding process and produce a true Super Bowl contender very soon.

If Ponder continues to fail, but the Vikings continue to have no viable quarterback options, then I think their best hope is ditch Musgrave and hope Ponder can thrive in a new offense under a new coach.

Adam, what would be more likely to happen the Vikes winning, or Peterson rushing for 175+ yards? See what I’m sayin?

I think I see what you are saying.

I will say this, the Packers haven’t given up 100 yards on the ground to any running back since Frank Gore posted 112 way back in week one.  Obviously, Peterson is a special case that could easily snap that streak, but I have a hard time seeing him put up those numbers in Green Bay.

I think the Vikings can win this game if all cylinders are clicking, including the running game, and I think that a Vikings win is more likely than Peterson putting up 175.

Slightly off requested subject line, but would you give me an update on the contract status of Spielman and Frazier?

That’s an excellent and timely question!

On January 3rd the Vikings promoted Spielman to the General Manager position, and while it is assumed that the promotion came with an extension it is possible that there is not a “contract” in place at all.  To date, nobody has released any details at all regarding the terms of Spielman’s employment with the organization that I have ever seen.  Provided how well his Draft class is doing this year, it is safe to say that Spielman will not be going anywhere any time soon.

Like Percy Harvin, however, Leslie Frazier will see his contract expire following next season.  It is highly unusual, and not at all a good sign, for a head coach to enter the final year of his contract without getting an extension.  Spielman has provided plenty of sound bites supporting his head coach of late, but I doubt any decisions on Frazier’s future will be made until this entire season is fully digested and evaluated in January (or, umm, February).

If we’re down by 24 in the 4th quarter sunday, which would you rather see on 3rd and 11, from anywhere on the field, a 2 yd swing pass, or a 50 yd interception?

You play to win the game!

Give me the deep shot… unless we somehow manage to sign Ray Rice to our roster.

As far as Ponder throwing to a receiver who drops the ball and Frazier calling that “unacceptable”………what does that mean, “unacceptable”? I really need to know…..

I linked to those comments earlier this week, and when I read them, I had the same reaction that I think you are having.  What is the recourse for the drops?  Are these guys getting benched?  Are their roster spots in danger?  Are they having to run extra killers?  Will Taylor Swift songs now be played throughout Winter Park practices as punishment?  Or were those just words that were stating the obvious?

Frazier didn’t clarify what he meant there, and I’m not going to put words in his mouth, but I am guessing that Jerome Simpson has to transform into Larry Fitzgerald in the next few weeks if he wants to get an extension from Minnesota.

What would get brett anderson more street cred in the nfl, a well-disguised suh kick to the crotch, a season-ending allen blindside block, a blatant stomp on a downed opponent, or a pre-warned punch to the jewels?

All great options, but obiously there is nothing more worthy of a $10K fine than flipping the ball to an opponent.  I suggest Brett start small, work his way up to Suh levels, and work on his ball-flipping-taunting skills.

I was wandering if theres ne chance the vikings will look into bringing rolondo mcclain?

Well, first off, he is still a member of the Raiders.  They have opted to suspend the no-show for conduct detrimental to the team and still hold his rights.  Like Titus Young in Detroit, these are the types of sagas you are glad to see plaguing other franchises, and you should think really hard about inviting those individuals into your locker room.

Secondly, he has a troublesome history off-the-field that would not be something that would sit well with the Vikings P.R. department.

Third, at his best he has only been a mediocre middle linebacker so far in his career.  I was high on him when he was a Draft prospect, and the potential might still be there, but players that fail off the field are far more likely to let themselves fail on it.

Fourth, to me Jasper Brinkley has been a pretty solid player this year and deserves credit for a number of excellent plays.  The Vikings could use some more serious competition at the linebacker position, in an effort to elevate everybody’s play, but I don’t think McClain is worth the risk.

What is up with AD missing the team bus last Sunday? He is suppose to be a leader.

He says he simply slept through his alarm clock, something most people can relate to, so as long as that is the truth I have no real issue with it.

If it became a habitual problem, or if he was actually up too late partying, then I’d take issue with it.

Otherwise, I think he has to learn from the mistake, set an extra alarm, and move on.

Any comment on Brandon Marshall’s statement about players using Viagra to enhance performance?

Yes, I have one comment:  Brett Favre played until his whole head was gray and ended his career shrouded in scandal because he texted pictures of his ——— to Jenn Sterger.  Do we need any more proof that Marshall isn’t lying?

Jarius Wright – flash in the pan or for real?

I see a raw talent, but one worth developing.

Wright’s drops last Sunday really bothered me, as did the two plays in which he showed poor awareness by placing himself out of bounds (or too close to it), but I think those were the reasons that caused the coaching staff to see Wright develop through the practice process instead of on game day.

He is raw.  He is now forced into action.  He has the talent to be great.

The only question now is whether or not he continues to grow and improve as a player.  If he does, the sky is the limit.

Which future FA QB is most likely the one year fill in when the Vikings unload Ponder to the Cardinals for a seventh round draft pick. I’m guessing Flynn.

Ha!  I think Ponder gets another year.  I want to be clear about that.

Secondly, Flynn is under a reasonable contract in Seattle until 2015.  I doubt he is going anywhere.

Joe Flacco is slated to be a free agent this offseason, but I would be shocked to see him hit the open market.  After Flacco, the free agent quarterbacks due to become free agents this offseason are headlined by Matt Moore and, gulp, Tarvaris Jackson.

Unless/until a surprise cut is made, do not expect the Vikings to be chasing any free agent quarterbacks to dethrone Ponder this offseason.

What are you getting the kids for Christmas?

My two year old son would spend every waking moment of every day in the reptile house at our local zoo if we let him.  While a snake and iguana will never be an option in Mrs. Warwas’ book, she was excited to find some cool looking and low maintenance frogs.  He is going to flip out.

The newborn will definitely be getting some nice new outfits and toys and whatnot.

By the way, if you plan to do any Christmas shopping from Amazon this year, please consider doing Brett and I a favor by using our Amazon shop as a starting place.  All of the same prices, you can access all the same variety, except Brett and I would get a little extra commission.

Better singer, Angry Brett or William Hung?

I’ve never heard Brett sing.  I have, however, heard William Hung sing.

For that reason, Brett wins.

Schwartz or Fusco?

Neither has been great, really.  Schwartz has been more consistent but Fusco seems to have more flashes of that mean, angry style of play that I love to see from offensive linemen.

Fusco will get the start on Sunday, but Schwartz will continue to rotate in and out.  If the Vikings win on Sunday then I think they are legitimate playoff contenders and they should play it safe with Schwartz taking over.

If the season is lost, however, then they should continue to give Fusco the reps and see if they can continue to develop him with hopes of the light bulb clicking on at some point.

Allens last year? Trade him for value then turn Everson Griffin loose?

This has been talked about a lot ever since Jared Allen was traded to Minnesota, but this is the first year that it really makes sense.  Allen is now on the wrong side of 30 and will be entering the final year of his contract.  Plus, as you mention, Everson Griffen (and others) are intriguing options that could step up upon his departure.

I don’t want to see it happen, however, and I don’t think it will.

This last offseason the Vikings talked at length about reducing Allen’s snap count and have somewhat been able to accomplish that (minimally).  I don’t think that goal would have existed if they planned on shipping him out after this season, but instead were hoping to keep him fresh and healthy to prolong his career… in Minnesota.

Allen is set to earn just under $14.3 million next season, a monstrous cap number, and trading him could free up some space to spend on other positions.  Signing him to an extension, however, could also accomplish that and I think it is the more likely option.

If Leslie Frazier, Alan Williams, and the Tampa-2 defense end up getting the heave-ho I may change my mind on this, though.

When will Joe Buck finally succumb to his unbridled passions and slam an open mouth kiss on Troy Aikman on national TV?

Please, please, PLEASE let it be this coming Sunday!

(Aikman and Buck will be calling the Vikings game)

Two pointed question:  When is a safe time to look beyond ponder at qb? Besides barkley, what other options in the draft provide something better than a reach?

You are getting ahead of yourself.  I do know that this is not the time to look beyond Ponder, and we don’t know where the Vikings will be drafting… not even close.  Oh, and the rest of this season still has to happen… as does the free agency period.

So, to kind of answer your question:  Let’s all wait until this season is lost before we start looking towards April too much.  Giving up on Ponder right now could turn out to be foolish, and I think we are about to find out what the kid is truly made of.  Also, I would be 110% shocked if the Vikings spend their first round pick on a quarterback.

And… Barkley?  Really?

Really?

Ziggy Wilf just called you and made you GM of the Minneapolis Vikings!  What’s your plan for QB assuming we see no more from Ponder this year?

[Note:  “Fragile Freds” had a lot more to this question and it is highly hilarious, but very long.  I didn’t post the entire thing here, and instead boiled it down to his basic question, but you can see the rest of his comment by clicking here and scrolling down to the comments section.]

Here is my answer:  Zygi, I know you are a dad because I’ve seen pictures of your daughter on the internet… no, not like that, don’t worry.  You remember the days when you – er – your nanny had to potty train your kid?  That is going to be my approach with Christian Ponder.

We’ve talked about pooping.  We’ve showed him great examples of excellent poopers.  We’ve studied endless hours of film.  We’ve had expert coaches teach him about proper pooping technique and footwork.

Despite all of that, we have kept him in a diaper up to this point in his career, giving him a fresh one every Monday morning and encouraging him as much as possible.

Now, Zygi, it is time to take that diaper off for good and see if this kid can be an all-star flusher or if he just craps himself.

No more two yard bubble screens.  No more double tight end sets giving him seven blockers.  No more high percentage short stuff.  I am going to put him in a position to show the world what he is made off, to test his makeup, and see what happens.

If he craps himself, then I am kicking him to the curb.

As far as who replaces him?  Well, that’s what you give Rick the big bucks for.

So, moving on, how’s your daughter doing?

So, who ya got this week? The Vikings…or the Vikings?

I’ll comply.  I’m taking the Vikes by three.