Thursday, February 26, 2015
Blog Page 136

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After an ugly performance in Week 1’s 34-24 loss against the Lions, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder may see himself on the bench if he doesn’t improve soon.

Like—very, very soon.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX SportsPonder is on a short leash as the team’s starting quarterback.

“He’s on a much shorter leash than anybody has any idea about,” Glazer reported on the FOX NFL Sunday show. “Matt Cassel is in there doing all the right things. I think fans look at it and say this is Ponder’s team. No.

“From a lot of what I’m hearing inside that locker room, he’s on a much shorter leash than anybody has any idea about.”

Entering his third year as the starter, Ponder has 32 touchdowns and 36 turnovers (28 interceptions and 8 fumble losses) in that span.

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The good news for the Vikings heading into a possibly rainy game at Soldier Field is that Kevin Williams is active and expected to see some playing time.

The Vikings inactives include both rookie linebackers, Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, which is kind of disappointing considering they were considered part of the offseason solution to the linebacker position which struggled consistently against Detroit last week.

Also inactive are QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, S Mistral Raymond, DT Chase Baker, DE George Johnson, and G Jeff Baca.

Don’t forget to chat it up during the game with all our awesome VT followers on our chat room page which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

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After an offseason that saw Minnesota’s expectations for 2013 go up and down numerous times, observers seem to have the lowest amount of faith in them since Donovan McNabb was quarterback following an ugly opener in Detroit.  However, a key to almost any team’s season-long success is their ability to stay healthy, and Friday’s final injury report offers some hope for Week Two’s matchup in Chicago.

The Vikings have seven players listed as “probable” and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (knee), who didn’t play in Detroit, is one of them.  Williams practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, missed Friday for a personal reason, and is expected to suit up against the Bears.  Williams may not be the full-time player we are used to him being, but a defensive line rotation was a part of the plan for this season anyways, and his return certainly can’t hurt.

Also “probable” are:  Linebackers Larry Dean (shoulder) and Erin Henderson (heel), right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), safety Mistral Raymond (shoulder), cornerback Josh Robinson (quadriceps), and center John Sullivan (knee).  Each of these guys was able to participate in full during Friday’s practice.

The Bears have listed both Julius Peppers (illness) and Charles Tillman (knee) as “probable” for Sunday’s divisional showdown.

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The Vikings practice squad is always fluid, with players coming and going, but the details of these eight spots lose a lot of intrigue once the offseason ends and the regular season begins.  Still, there are some interesting things to keep an eye on as these moves are made.

For example, on Wednesday the Vikings signed defensive back Robert Steeples to the squad, and the fact that they assigned him jersey number 26 is perhaps a clear signal that the return of Antoine Winfield is not atop the front office’s priority list.

Yesterday, running back Bradley Randle was released from the practice squad along with defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo.  Meanwhile, running back Joe Banyard was signed to the practice squad.  Last week, it was Banyard being cut and Randle being added.  The Vikings have employed a technique in recent years where they go back and forth with certain players, adding them and dropping them from the practice squad, as a way of essentially keeping two guys in the mix while only tying up one roster spot.  This could be the case here as both Banyard and Randle have traits worth developing at the NFL level.

Additionally, defensive end D’Aundre Reed has officially parted ways with the team via an injury settlement, as did guard Seth Olsen.

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The Vikings offense has received the most attention following the week one loss in Detroit, but the defense certainly didn’t inspire much confidence with their performance, either.  Part of the problem was visible in the middle of the defense, with Detroit’s running game producing quite nicely, and it was noticeable that defensive tackle was out of action.

According to 1500 ESPN, the defensive line rotation may get a boost this week against Chicago, who has a talented duo of running backs themselves.  Williams was able to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday and Leslie Frazier said he hoped to see him back in the lineup this Sunday.

Also limited in practice were CB Josh Robinson (quad), C John Sullivan (knee), and RT Phil Loadholt (knee).  The Bears are little healthier right now with CB Charles Tillman (knee) being their only player limited in Wednesday’s practice.

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