Thursday, June 30, 2016

christian ponder

If your team loses early in the postseason, and you have your own blog, then the reward is being able to turn your gaze towards the NFL Draft.  So, with the Vikings getting a slap upside the head from Green Bay last weekend, I couldn’t help but update my mock.

Last time around I assigned Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the Vikings.  Since then, however, the Vikings success meant they worked themselves all the way down to the 23rd selection and the more I looked at Richardson the more I am convinced he will be long gone by that point.

I ended up taking Richardson off the board at the 11th spot (Chargers) and had to see how things worked themselves out by the time the Vikings were “on the clock” in my mock.

A number of interesting option still existed at 23, which is a good sign for when the real deal actually rolls around, and I was awfully tempted to consider North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon.  While I think some quarterback-needy team might trade up to this point and try to grab Glennon, I just don’t see the Vikings realistically spending their first rounder on the quarterback position unless the coaching staff is suddenly and surprisingly dismissed… which won’t happen.

The Vikings will likely target a quarterback at some point in the Draft, but I highly doubt it’ll be that early, as they remain committed to developing Christian Ponder.

I did select someone on the offensive side of the football, however, and could help Ponder in his efforts to improve what has been a very lackluster passing game.

At #23, with USC’s Robert Woods the only other receiver selected prior, I assigned Tennessee product Cordarrelle Patterson to the Vikings.  The rest of the mock can be looked over by clicking here.

He has great size at 6’ 3” and 205 pounds and impressive elusiveness and has helped quarterback Tyler Bray lead an impressive passing game.  He has also contributed significantly by taking handoffs, returning punts, and returning kicks.  Sound familiar?

He is a physical receiver capable of out jumping most defenders, and possesses the ability to consistently make any catch he can get his hands on.  The only knock on Patterson is that he is still raw and needs to work on his route running, which is completely coachable.

For those unfamiliar with Patterson, here is a nice little highlight reel to get you familiarized.  At the very least, take note of how his legs never stop churning… despite the ridiculously long strides this guy take:

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The Vikings, led by backup quarterback Joe Webb, got their asses kicked at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

There really is no nicer way to put it than that without being dishonest.  The game was a debacle in all phases of the game.  Embarrassing production on offense, deadly mistakes on defense, turnovers coming from the special teams, and a coaching staff that seemed outmatched nearly the whole time.

With that being said, Saturday night’s letdown is just one black mark in what was otherwise a very pleasant surprise of a season, with the Vikings netting 10 wins after getting just three the season prior.

The Vikings accomplished many of their stated goals in 2012.  They kept Ponder upright for 16 games in an effort to gauge his progression.   The offensive line improved with players that never once had to miss a start.  The running game was one of the best that the world has ever seen, with Adrian Peterson making a very convincing bid to be the NFL’s MVP.

On defense, Alan Williams put together one of the better looking secondaries, albeit lacking depth, that Vikings fans have seen in years and years.  The pass rush was fairly consistent and the run defense was usually fairly stout, with only a select few exceptions in each area.

The special teams unit was overall one of the best in the NFL.

Following a phenomenal Draft from Rick Spielman, and Eric Sugarman earning every penny of his salary in keeping this squad relatively healthy, the Vikings are certainly a lot further along in their rebuilding process than almost anybody expected.

With that being said, there is not a position on this roster that couldn’t stand to be improved, other than kicker, and the Vikings now have another offseason full of opportunity to get even better.  They have an offseason to evaluate the coaching staff, search for free agents, prepare for the NFL Draft, and continue to develop their current talent.

While I was hoping not to be starting this for a few more weeks, the offseason unfortunately does begin today, and we here at VT are excited to do you the favor of filling it full of analysis, irresponsible speculation, rumor mongering, and discussion.

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We decided against a live chat today since, in our experience, these later games with huge ramifications typically means people are glued to their TVs, have a party going on, or are going out.  So, instead, we’ll do the whole quarterly forums thing to allow those that remain to share their thoughts as the game goes on.

What is there to say?  Joe Webb is starting and Christian Ponder won’t even be in uniform.  Adrian Peterson just seems to get better and better every week.  The Packers are as healthy as they have ever been this season in the passing game.  Frozen rain is expected to hit at some point during this game.

Fun, fun, and more fun!  Sit back and enjoy the game everyone!


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.

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