Sunday, November 29, 2015

christian ponder

As the post below indicated, Christian Ponder (elbow) is amazingly going to be inactive for what should have been his first playoff appearance.  Joe Webb, who Vikings fans are very familiar with, will be starting in his place.

Webb’s backup will be McLeod Bethel-Thompson who has never appeared in a regular season NFL game.  With the way Webb runs the ball, and may be asked to do a lot today, it is reasonable to wonder if our postseason hopes won’t end up on MBT’s shoulders.

The team’s other inactives are receiver Stephen Burton, cornerback Brandon Burton, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, offensive lineman Troy Kropog, end George Johnson and end D’Aundre Reed.

This means rookie linebacker Audie Cole will be asked to replace McKenzie on special teams.  Cole made a big splash in the preseason by returning two interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back plays.

The inactives list also does not include Antoine Winfield which is good news for a Vikings secondary that will need all the help it can scrounge up against Aaron Rodgers and the potent passing attack of the Green Bay Packers.

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Yes, Christian Ponder’s elbow has prevented him from starting this playoff game, and the Vikings will instead turn to Joe Webb to lead them to their first playoff victory since 2009.  Webb hasn’t played more than a few garbage time snaps all season long.

I’ll get the rest of the inactives up momentarily.

The news is crazy.

That is all.

Even with plenty of concerns about whether or not Christian Ponder has what it takes to be a long term solution at quarterback, the Vikings brass has done a great job of keeping quarterback controversies at bay for all of 2012.

Welcome to 2013.

Numerous rumors and “reports” are floating around that Christian Ponder’s “questionable” status was actually more legitimate than many originally thought.  Apparently his elbow bursitis, and the need to drain that elbow, could be enough to keep him off the field tonight.

Yes, that means Joe Webb is being rumored to start against the Packers in the biggest game of the year.

We’ll know a concrete answer soon enough, but if you weren’t anxious enough about this game, these rumors are certainly making life interesting for Vikings fans on this Saturday afternoon.

As I mentioned earlier this week, injuries on both teams make Saturday night’s game between the Vikings and Packers a completely unique matchup compared to their previous two.

The Vikings special teams struggled last week with linebacker Tyrone McKenzie leaving due to a shoulder injury.  He has been ruled out once again making the Vikings coverage team a point of interest in this one, especially since electric return man Randall Cobb (ankle) is probable to return to the field.

In fact, Cobb’s return means that the Packers talented group of receivers are now healthier than they have been all season long.  Greg Jennings is at 100% now while Jordy Neson (knee) and Jermichael Finley (quadriceps) are both listed as probable.

The sudden health of Aaron Rodgers passing weapons unfortunately coincides with the Vikings secondary having some substantial health questions.  Rodgers threw a pass in Antoine Winfield’s direction only once prior to Winfield leaving last week’s game with a broken hand that swelled up on him, and then proceeded to pick on his replacement, Marcus Sherels, 10 times in the remainder of the game.

Winfield is listed as questionable but has indicated he will be wearing a new cast on the hand and plans on playing through the pain.  His injured teammates in the secondary are Harrison Smith (knee) and A.J. Jefferson (ankle) are both listed as probable, however.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was only able to prepare for his latest biggest career game on a limited basis this week due to an elbow injury in his throwing arm.  Leslie Frazier indicated that Ponder is doing everything possible to get ready for this game, and it seems highly unlikely that anyone else gets the start, but one can’t help but wonder if Joe Webb might be making an appearance Saturday night.

Adrian Peterson (abdomen), Brian Robison (shoulder), Jared Allen (shoulder), George Johnson (quadriceps), Chris Kluwe (knee), and Phil Loadholt (knee) are all listed as probable.

Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin and defensive end Jerel Worthy have both been ruled out after suffering injuries last week.  Running back James Starks (knee) is listed as questionable.

Cornerbacks Tramon Williams (illness) and Davon House (hip) are both considered probable.  Also probable is Charles Woodson (collarbone) who is expected to give the Packers a boost in pass defense after missing considerable time.

The weather forecast for Green Bay is looking to be sub-freezing conditions and possible frozen precipitation.  Considering the Packers passing prowess, and Adrian Peterson’s dominance on the ground, I say the nastier the weather is the better off the Vikings are.

After all, an ice pellet or two clinking off of Mason Crosby’s helmet might just be enough to…

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Well, Tomb, now that the Vikings are officially in the playoffs, and now that your prediction insisting they WOULDN’T make it (yes, you capitalized it for effect) is officially an embarrassment for you, it’s time for us to discuss what this four game December finish means for the Vikes and their fans.  I assume you have some grand, wordy explanation as to how your faith in the purple was so weakened for this finish, but within that description, perhaps you could tell us what most surprised you about these last four games.  (Obviously, you had to be surprised by something!)

Personally, I was especially pleased with the defensive improvement we saw, at least until injuries put our not-so-deep secondary on the field against the Packers.  And even then, it was nice to see our offense decide they weren’t going to let us lose.  The defense now seems aggressive, and the secondary is actually taking away some of what the passing offenses want to accomplish.  Timely interceptions against the Bears and Rams were big parts of those wins, and to keep Houston out of the end zone was something more than any defense should expect of themselves.

Obviously, AD running amok against opponents is the key to this team, and the lack of turnovers, timely third down passing, and good defense has made the Vikes worthy of a playoff berth, as well as some real respect within the playoff season.  So, my friend, how do you see things in this playoff week which you said would never happen?

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