Thursday, April 2, 2015
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christian ponder

Consider this statistical analysis for a second.  Christian Ponder completed 11 passes to Vikings receivers during Sunday’s win.

These 11 passes were good for 91 yards and no touchdowns.  Jay Cutler, on the other hand, completed two passes to Vikings cornerbacks and those interceptions were good for 100 yards and a touchdown.

So, to be clear, Jay Cutler was a better Vikings quarterback on Sunday than Christian Ponder was.

Leslie Frazier and his staff decided to go “all in” utilizing a formula many of were calling for weeks ago, and it led to a fairly impressive victory over a divisional foe.  The Vikings fully embraced the idea of having to run the football (accompanied by solid defense) to win football games, and even if it seems they figured it out a little too late, they are still in the playoff hunt because of it.

Against the Bears on Sunday Adrian Peterson had a career high of 31 carries while Christian Ponder tied his season low of 17 passing attempts.  If you throw in some Toby Gerhart and bootlegs, the Vikings ran the ball 21 more times than they threw it.

The Vikings have once again proved that they can win with Christian Ponder at quarterback, but once again it is obvious that they can really only do it if Peterson continues to play out of his mind and the defense continues to come up with big plays.

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[Editor’s Note:  They say laughter is the best medicine.  That is why I didn’t flinch at the idea of faithful reader “Tomb” contributing some weekend laughs from time to time here on the pages of Vikings Territory.  This recurring (if you like it) segment will bring you satirical headlines from around the NFL and run under the title “the Tombion” which is an obvious rip off of…”

Brow vs. Brow: Bert Files Suit Against Flacco

BALTIMORE–Appearing before a small but energetic throng of reporters at an impromptu press conference to defend recent litigation filed by his attorneys against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Bert, of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, was at times calm and rational, at times highly combative, sometimes even waxing oddly nostalgic, but always relaying an unflinching confidence in his decision. Bert’s petition insists that Joe Flacco knowingly and willingly infringed on Bert’s trademark unibrow to further his personal career ambitions.

“This is a clear trademark violation,” Bert insisted. “Do you have any idea how many years I’ve been rockin’ this eyebar? I’ve spent most of my life, maybe most of my soul to make this thing part of the American fabric. I’ve put in the time. I didn’t do it to have some poseur accelerate his own position by ripping me off. I mean, come on! The Ravens have a defense and Ray Rice. That’s it. Flacco shamelessly rides their talents and pretends he’s actually a quarterback to be taken seriously? Like the team would fall apart without his constant lack of clutch playmaking? If he’s an elite quarterback, then Vanilla Ice is a musical genius. Think about it, 4th & 29, just under 2 minutes to go, and what does Flacco do? A dump pass to your running back? Seriously? Real ‘Brady-like’ performance there, Joe. Rice puts the team on his back; against all odds he converts the 4th, and Flacco has the audacity to celebrate like he had anything to do with it? This turd needs to be flushed, and I’m just the man to do the flushing. You can quote me on that!”

Meanwhile, from team headquarters, Joe Flacco issued a more solemn, but nonetheless shocking prepared address.

“Bert’s accusations are frivolous. I’m confident that true justice will ultimately prevail, and the American judicial system will agree with me that these are baseless accusations. It makes no sense. The facts are clear, I stand before you as the starting quarterback for an NFL team, I make millions of dollars doing so, and I’ve never even been to second base with anyone. My marriage? A sham. She won’t let me touch her. Our child? Not mine. I have no idea whose kid that is. I have zero doubt this caterpillar on my forehead has contributed to my frustrations and ultimate personal failings. Why would I willingly do that to myself? Again, it makes no sense, much like his case.”

Bert’s domestic partner, Ernie, declined comment.

A season that is all but suffocated.  A star receiver on the mend.  A quarterback under immense pressure to perform.  A group of coaches whose seats have to feel a bit toasty.  A linebacker calling for more drunks to attend games.  A divisional home game fast approaching.

The drama has reached heights we have yet to see in 2012, which means there are plenty of great articles floating around the internet, and I am here to bring them all your way:

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.

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