Monday, May 25, 2015
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christian ponder

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Brian Robison didn’t have a bad year in 2012 by any means, but he is looking forward to getting healthy and contributing even more during his contract year.  His shoulder injury did not require surgery, but he says it did bother him particularly during the playoff game in Green Bay, and he is a permanent reminder of the injury in the form of a quarter-sized bump on his shoulder.

“I’ve still got a little deformity there with the bone popping up. It’s still there and it’s going to be there,” Robison told Viking Update.  “They say it’s pretty permanent. It’s been good. I’ve been getting strong in the weight room and been feeling good on the field so far, so it’s been going well.”

“Pretty well” might be a bit of an understatement for Robison after Wednesday’s practice session where he intercepted quarterback Christian Ponder not once, but twice.  On one occasion, rookie corner Xavier Rhodes tipped the pass back towards the line and Robison was able to make the heads up play.  On the other, he was simply able to get into the air and snatch Ponder’s pass before walking into the endzone.  While that isn’t exactly the news we want to be hearing about our quarterback, it is always good to hear that our defensive line is making some splash plays at the line.

Robison ended up with an arm harness last season and a brace for his elbow, which was a separate injury which he admits also impacted his game.

“A lot. It really did. There was some times out there where that, paired along with the elbow brace that I was wearing, I felt like a lot of times I was playing with no arms out there and it was kind of a weird deal,” he said .  “You can really see in the playoff game when I came back and then six days later we had to play another game, it was one of those deals where it just wasn’t ready to go, but the competitor in me didn’t want to sit out.”

Robison has never reached double digit sacks, with 8.5 last season being his career high, but he is a burst type of player that seldom seems to be a goat and has made his share of big plays from the left end position.  Like Jared Allen, Robison faces a contract year in 2013, and he will be expected to take a step or two towards improving even more.

 

When discussing the possible reasons for Percy Harvin’s departure from Minnesota this offseason there is a grab bag full of options to choose from.  One speculative reason that kept coming up, and was fueled in part by Harvin’s unwillingness to deny it, was that he had no faith in Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder to take the Vikings to the next level.

This week, however, Harvin was asked directly about Ponder on Jim Rome’s radio show and he made sure to say all of the right things.

“That was false,” Harvin said of the speculation. “Me and Christian had a great time together. I respect him a whole heck of a lot.”

“I never had a problem with (Ponder),” he continued.  “I’ve never stated I had a problem with him. I’ve never seen a problem he has had with me. He has never said he’s had a problem with me.  (Ponder and Harvin were) on the same page, it’s just a lot of articles that tried to pick up on things that weren’t there.”

Harvin may have never publicly slammed Ponder, but he had many opportunities to endorse his quarterback since the end of the 2012 season, and never did.  There was also the March 11th article from Yahoo! Sports reporter Jason Cole that said Harvin had “bemoaned” that his quarterback was “not good enough.”  In the nearly three months since that article was posted, Harvin did not deny that those feelings existed, either.

In the end, Vikings fans are moving on from Harvin and are excited about the team’s three first round picks, and they have little choice than to go into 2013 hoping Ponder can up his game in a meaningful way.  Other than some added drama to Minnesota’s November 17th trip to seattle, Harvin’s thoughts on the matter are now irrelevant.

 

The news isn’t exactly hard to keep up with these days, because there isn’t much of it, but that didn’t stop us from digging up some good stuff to pass along this weekend:

  • The Vikings seem to have a thing for tall defensive backs these days.
  • A look at what undrafted quarterback James Vandenberg might bring to the #3 quarterback competition.
  • The Vikings finalized their agreement to play at TCF Bank Stadium and there are some interesting details regarding the situation.
  • Nick Reed may not have lasted long with the Vikings, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a bad ass career path.
  • A year after “experts” failed to give the Vikings a chance at the playoffs it appears they are now gaining some respect.
  • An old cohort of mine is now running Vikings Gab.  Congrats to Chris Boynton 0n his new gig.
  • A look at how the post-Draft depth chart is shaping up at the linebacker position.
  • Cris Carter has finally been voted into the Hall of Fame so we are now left to wonder who the next Viking to receive that honor will be.
  • Count Governor Mark Dayton as one of the clueless who think the Vikings weren’t justified, in terms of football reasons, to draft Chris Kluwe’s replacement.
  • Rick Spielman recently said Christian Ponder deserves as much credit as Adrian Peterson in the franchise making the playoffs last year.  Seriously.  He said that.  With word.  From his mouth.  And he wasn’t drunk.
  • The Vikings have 39 players on their roster right now that they drafted which ranks 7th in the NFL.
  • Linebacker Michael Mauti has a lengthy history of dealing with injury, but so does Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman.
  • The Vikings have started yet another community oriented campaign called “WE DAY.”
  • Rick Spielman is making it clear that he expects Ponder to make a big jump this season.
  • Vegas is not being kind to the Vikings when it comes to predicting their 2013 chances.
  • If the Vikings had their own “Mount Rushmore” who would you put on it?
  • And now, here it is, your moment of Zen:

There are some big name quarterbacks, headlined by USC’s Matt Barkley, still available on Day Three of the Draft.  The Vikings have five remaining picks and plenty of areas in need of some depth.

My question for you is if there is a quarterback you would like to see drafted to join a depth chart that currently consists of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Joe Webb, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.  If so, which one, and please take to the comments section to let us know what round you want the Vikings to target your guy in.

To shake things up a little this weekend I decided to solicit questions from the audience for the first time in a long time.  As the Draft approaches, there is always an increase in questions from those that for some reason find this hack blogger’s opinion to be relevant, and I wanted to give the opportunity to ask as many as possible before the pre-Draft craziness fully sets in.  Below are the results.

There have been some recent questions about our tradition of our Draft Weekend Live Chat and whether it will live on in 2013.

Our normal software avenue has decided to start charging for their services.  They are now charging by the number of readers that use the live chat services and VT has really started to take off recently, which is a great problem to have, and we expect thousands of people to visit our site on Draft Weekend.  This means it could be a pretty expensive proposition for this little blog to consider.

Still, Brett and I are currently evaluating alternatives, and we are sure to come up with something.

One of our loyal readers very generously offered to set up a chat room for us here at VT free-of-charge and we’ve been testing it out.  There are some pros and cons to it, and it won’t look as slick as what you’ve grown used to, but I think it will get the job done.  Stay tuned!

A number of people asked about us updating our mock drafts and releasing some sort of positional rankings prior to the Draft.

Yes, my mock will be updated at least once (probably more) prior to the draft taking place.  I’m hoping to find the time to add a second round fairly soon, as well.

I am also working on creating a VT-unique “Big Board” of about 300 players.  Last year Brett worked hard to make our Big Board update somewhat instantly as the Draft progressed, crossing off players as they were selected on Draft Weekend.  Preferably we’ll be able to get something like that together again.  That’s the goal.

Okay, now onto some more interesting questions.  SKOL12 wanted to know what type of defensive tackle the Vikings are in need of.  Do they need a big run stuffer, and athletic pass rusher, or someone a little more balanced?

I think it is clear that the Vikings don’t have a massive run stuffer and could benefit from grabbing one like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams.  Given the age, possible regression, and heavy cap hit of Kevin Williams I also can’t see the downside of drafting a very well balanced defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams.  With the Vikings defense struggling greatly against mobile quarterbacks last season, and about 10 of them on the schedule this season, getting more athletic in the middle of the defense needs to be a priority, as well, which is why a guy like Sheldon Richardson appeals to me so much.

Ideally, Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard can step up to the plate in 2013, and Kevin Williams regains some of his previous spark.  That might be a lot to bank on, however, and the Vikings need to add some competition via the Draft regardless of the type of lineman they are eyeballing.

Reader SB wants to know if trading up into the late teens to grab Sheldon Richardson would appeal to me if it only costs a fourth or fifth rounder to pull off.

Yes!  I consider Richardson to be a special talent and any team in that range will be interested in him.  It will likely cost a lot more than that to move up in the first round, but if this deal presented itself I would certainly move up and get my guy.

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