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adrian peterson

Prior to this week’s loss in Green Bay, the main topic of conversation for the Minnesota Vikings fan base revolved around second year quarterback Christian Ponder.  His 119 yard performance, with two game changing interceptions, will do little to quiet the doubters moving forward.

Despite having the league’s top running back in Adrian Peterson Ponder and his offense have sunk to the bottom of the NFL in terms of passing yardage.

Many Vikings fans have taken to the internet and radio call-in shows to express their displeasure with Ponder and it sounds as if they have seen enough of the Florida State product and are eager to see him spend some time on the bench.

The one guy has perhaps seen more of Ponder than anybody, however, feels that he has not seen enough to give up on his former first round pick.  Ever since the final whistle blew on Sunday, Leslie Frazier has done nothing but reiterate that he plans to continue playing Ponder and has barely even acknowledged the possibility of benching him.

So, where are you at as a fan today?  Have you seen enough of Christian Ponder to give up hope?  This poll represents what is ultimately the most important question that the Vikings, as an organization, have to be asking themselves over the next six months or so.

The company line at Winter Park this week is going to be that the Vikings still control their own destiny, and that Christian Ponder will be the quarterback to lead this team to the playoffs.

While this is mathematically a possibility, the truth is that the Vikings playoff hopes died on Lambeau Field Sunday when Ponder nearly failed to throw for over 100 yards and had a pair of untimely interceptions that quite literally robbed his own team of hard earned points.

Sure, there are plenty of other things to point to that went wrong on Sunday.  The referees (and I hardly ever resort to this) made a number of calls that left many wondering if Ed Hochuli plans to retire in Green Bay.  Blair Walsh’s missed field goal in the fourth quarter was the nail in the coffin.  Receivers continued to struggle to get open.  Bill Musgrave once again failed to get Adrian Peterson a handoff, not even once, in the fourth quarter.

All of these things can be viewed as unacceptable, but none were more glaring than the horrendous display put on by Ponder against the team fans want to beat the most.

I can’t fault the Vikings staff for starting Ponder today, and I can’t fault them for starting him next week against Chicago, but their decision to keep Joe Webb on the bench following Ponder’s second interception has left me dumbfounded.

You want to be patient with young quarterbacks.  You want them to learn from mistakes and learn how to rebound after committing them.  You want to get a full season’s worth of game tape for evaluation purposes during the offseason.  More than anything, you want to prove everyone else wrong and let him lead you to victory.

Still, with all of those things in mind, what was expected to be gained by keeping Ponder in the game?

Joe Webb has proven to be one the NFL’s best change-up pitchers in the NFL and Ponder gave absolutely no indication that he could win this game, even with Peterson’s ridiculous numbers.  Webb, while not viewed as a viable long term option, should have been allowed to try and redeem the game and put the Vikings (and Christian Ponder) in a position to see postseason action.

Instead, the Vikings chose to place the “development” of their first round quarterback ahead of the team goal of winning a championship, and kept Ponder on the field only long enough to gain a few more yards against a prevent defense.

Whether the call was up to Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave, Rick Spielman, or even Zygi Wilf himself, 52 other players and an entire fan base had to suffer Sunday due to the irrational stubbornness displayed by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have officially entered survival mode (which they prefer to call “controlling their own destiny”) and will travel from one daunting task directly to another as they endevour to take down the Packers in their own house.

Let’s take a look around the web at some of the best articles regarding last week’s loss to Chicago, and the upcoming matchup in Green Bay:

  • It could be that the clock is ticking on the Leslie Frazier era in Minnesota already.
  • The Giants may have laid out a blue print for the Vikings to use against Green Bay this week.
  • Jarius Wright has been able to take advantage of his two games on the active roster in ways that the other receivers have not.
  • Christian Ponder was 0 for 10 (including an interception) on passes that went 10 yards or further down the field on Sunday.  More interesting notes right here.
  • Plain and simple:  Jerome Simpson isn’t getting it done.
  • A gallery of photos from Sunday’s loss to the Bears.
  • Perhaps dropped passes are simply the latest excuse for Christian Ponder supporters to point to.
  • Adrian Peterson’s hold on the NFL’s rushing title is now 172 yards strong.  His hold on the football, however…
  • As if the Packers needed more talent, they really struck gold with cornerback Casey Heyward, who should be avoided if at all possible.
  • The Vikings replaced Jordan Todman with undrafted running back Joe Banyard on the practice squad.
  • Toby Gerhart hasn’t been given much opportunity on the field, but that is keeping him from making a difference off of it.
  • Don’t be surprised if Greg Jennings’ return means the Packers use an empty backfield, with four receivers and a tight end, to neutralize the Vikings pass rush on Sunday.
  • The Vikings have an extensive injury report to keep an eye on this week.
  • Jerome Felton’s success has resulted in a fullback lining up in Bill Musgrave’s offense 20% more often than last season.
  • A former Vikings linebacker is running for office in Illinois, hoping to replace the recently resigned Jesse Jackson Jr.
  • Leslie Frazier describes all of Sunday’s drops as “really unacceptable.”  So there’s that.
  • In the last five games Adrian Peterson is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.  So, tell me again why he didn’t get the ball on third and short… or fourth and short.

Coming off of a big win, the Vikings bye week has not been completely quiet, and I have plenty of great reads to share with you:

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A headline that utilizes both the word “bye” and the word “arrest” isn’t usually a good thing for our Vikings, but on Tuesday Adrian Peterson left a Houston court room victorious.  Charges stemming from his offseason arrest for resisting arrest have been dismissed by a grand jury.

The best account of the proceedings can be read right here at PFT, for those interested in the details, and it is actually pretty interesting.

Not only does the settling of this legal matter make life easier for the NFL’s leading rusher, but it should also serve as a reminder to all of the other players on the roster during their off time to keep their wits about them and stay out of trouble.

We don’t want those words to appear in any more headlines this week.

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