Week three of the preseason always captures the attention of fans more than any other, even though week four tends to be make-or-break time for bubble players, because the first teams see their most extensive playing time.

As the Vikings prepare to play the Niners this weekend, after two very flawed games thus far in the preseason, I have a list of things I hope to see.  Here are the top five:

5.  Something, Anything, Out Of Ponder

On one hand, what Christian Ponder does in the preseason simply does not matter.  He’s the week one starter, barring injury or suspension, so how he plays impacts the depth chart very little.  Heck, if he lights it up in the preseason, it matters equally as little because what he needs to prove is that he can quarterback his team to wins on a consistent basis.  He can’t prove, at least to me, whether or not he is “the guy” during these preseason games.  He’ll have to wait until the regular season before he can make a real case for himself, or before critics can truly call for his head.

However, on the other hand, it sure would be nice to see him perform at a higher level than he has been.  A nice solid game out of him would go a long ways towards giving us some confidence about the pending playoff race.

4.  Taking It Out Of Their Hands

I couldn’t believe it when Jamarca Sanford actually came up with an interception last week.  Granted, this ball didn’t hit him in the chest like the ones he normally drops, but I was still encouraged by the fact that he actually capitalized on an opportunity.

The Vikings seem to be a team, in the last few years, that consistently misses out on turnover opportunities.  That has been a major emphasis for the defense this offseason, according to the coaching staff, and it would really be nice to see that come to fruition against the Niners.

3.  O-Line Solidification

I am surprising myself by not putting this at #1 after last week’s train wreck.  The play of our offensive line was ridiculously disappointing against Buffalo, which hopefully served as a wakeup call at the right time.  The Niners may or may not play as aggressively as the Bills did, but they certainly have the pass rushers to provide another good test for Matt Kalil and company.

My hope is that last week was an aberration, a product of being unprepared for such a blitz-happy defense in August, and that we see more competence out of our high-priced offensive line.

2.  Neutralizing Kaepernick

Last season, all of the Vikings losses were served up by quarterbacks with good mobility, and runs from RGIII and Colin Kaepernick will forever be mainstays in the personal highlight reels.  The Vikings have a high number of mobile quarterbacks on the schedule this year and cannot afford to struggle with containment once again.  Kaepernick should provide a good test, a gauge for whether or not this defense is better prepared to deal with quick feet, and the hope is that the defense can better contain him.

Added athleticism from guys like Desmond Bishop (added), Everson Griffen (increased reps?), and Sharrif Floyd (rookie) could go a long ways towards solving this problem, but I want to see it so that I can believe it.

1.  Healthy Adrian Peterson

Coach Leslie Frazier has indicated he plans to put Adrian Peterson on the field this week, and I really couldn’t disagree more with that decision.  I understand this offense needs a confidence boost.  I understand the argument against having the regular season be a player’s first time on the field due to injury concern.  I understand all of the reasons for Frazier wanting to do it.  I just disagree.

With that being said, what I want most out of this coming game is for all of our players to come out of it unscathed, especially the reigning MVP.


  1. For the sake of not ‘jynxing’ anything, if I believed in such a thing, let me say this: I’m MUCH more against playing a guy of AD’s caliber at the end of a season in which playoff hopes aren’t even remotely possible, and the prospect of landing the best QB to be drafted since Peyton Manning is at your finger tips (a decision that will set franchise back at least a decade). Nothing can simulate game time, even at the HS level. Eventhough he proved what he did last year, he may well have broke that record if he was better prepared. He may not need the work this year to maintain his elite RB status, but the team needs it. With all of the issues and new faces the team needs it.

    • CSlinde, I guess you’re speaking of the 2011 Redskin game?
      Remember that the Vikes won that game with Gerhart and Webb. You play to win the game. Some disagree, I suppose.
      I don’t like AD/AP playing in this game…but I see your point. The team does need him in there. BUT, it is PRE-season.

      • C.C. I think A.D. will get about 5 carries, just to knock the rust off. And will be in the back field for a lot of passing plays as a decoy. I’m thinking the Vikings are going to throw, throw, and throw some more. First off is for Ponder. Second O-line( well maybe for O-line first, could be close), to see if O-line can pass block anybody. Third, work on timing with wr’s.

  2. cc-
    you didn’t buy into that WW2 propaganda that carrots improve seeing, did ya? hmm, oh well a lot of people don’t see my point.
    1- season was dead
    2- centerpiece of team was banged-up (not safe for RBs, can cause further injury)
    3- game was tied at half-time
    4- team more than likely elevated their play after best palyer in the league went down and barely squeaked out a win.
    5- Ponder arguably could’ve been held out as well

    • I love me some carrots, eat them almost daily…Have 20/20 vision. Didn’t know about the propaganda tho.
      The season was dead. However instructing your team to lose, or not putting your best players on the field sends a message, and not a good one. If this team goes 10-6 or better this year and wins a playoff game or more? Is it still a bad decision?
      It’s tough to predict the future…To me, if you lose on purpose you’ll end up a loser. As a player I would lose all respect of my coach.

  3. imho there’s a difference in instructing to lose and protecting players and/or the future of your franchise.

  4. my no. 1 would be to see ponder really light it up, even against twos, or anybody. never seen him do it, ever, and don’t know if he can. it would do wonders for my, and maybe his, confidence in him. i can’t imagine anything getting me more stoked about this team than seeing one of our QBs get two or three TDs and 250 yds. in a couple of qtrs. how do ya think the rest of the team would react to that? chit-eatin grins all around, i’d bet, especially the WRs. we used to do that in one qtr. in ’98, and the other team knew the game was over, they’d look stunned and dejected. dominance is great

  5. A Joe Webb TD is #1 on my list.
    A C Cook INT #2
    Another good return by Felder
    A good game from Ponder
    A good game from Henderson and Bishop

  6. I’m with you on. all accounts Adam. I would prefer to see AD (And what’s with the AD/AP poop CC? you just trying to piss me off or what? Why I oughta’. . .) sit until the regular season. the guy has 2500 yards to get this year, why wear him out needlessly, we know what he can do. Plus, it doesn’t give teams a chance to get any film on Ponder with AD on the field, in case Ponder can take advantage of his new weapons this year and actually come up with a passing game.
    I’m still very bitter about AD playing in that meaningless Redskins Game, by the way.

    • Tv Ratings Fran old buddy. That advertiser money is just as green in the preseason as it is in the regular season, maybe a little less, but still green.

  7. Off topic (yeah, I know there’s a forum for this) watching the Ravens vs the Panthers tonight and that POS McKinnie looks gassed as Baltimore is running it’s no huddle offense in second quarter. Vikings got some challenges this season, but at least McKinnie isn’t one of them.

  8. I’m in the minority, but I agree with getting Adrian some reps. There is a little bit of timing when it comes to lineman pulling and getting to their blocks and it will be good for him to see if there is a difference between how things have gone in practice against a defense that has been told not to breath on him and a group that is actually trying to stop him for no gain. I would probably just run a few plays like that and then get him out of there. Last year when he came back at the beginning of the season he started out just running straight with his pads low. This year he will have his full array of lateral movements available to him so getting even a few reps against a defense going at full speed could be beneficial even for the league MVP. I want to see Ponder have a chance to succeed…and actually take advantage of that chance. I’ld also like to see more of Cordarrelle with the 1’s, and that should happen with Wright expected to sit.

  9. got my wheaties with AD on it today. feel like a little kid, hehe. i’ll eat the cereal and keep the box, just like the twins’ box


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