Saturday, April 18, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "christian ponder"

christian ponder

The Vikings retain Phil Loadholt, but have to cut Antoine Winfield as a result.  Kyle Rudolph scores a touchdown and then suffers a serious injury.  Christian Ponder plays the best game of the season, but can’t finish it.

Now, the Vikings win their first game on this side of the Atlantic Ocean and the celebration has been cut short due to Jerome Simpson being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.

I guess it is just one of those seasons.

Simpson is currently the leading receiver for the Vikings with 33 catches and 491 yards.  He has certainly played better than in 2012, but he may have played his last game in purple.  Of course, everything is just speculation at this point, but this isn’t his first run in with the law which could land him a hefty suspension from the NFL as a repeated offender of the league’s conduct policy.  His previous offense occurred when two pounds of marijuana was shipped to his home and he served a three game suspension last year, and is still serving three years of probation.

Early Saturday morning, Simpson’s car was stalled on I-394 and a trooper arrived on the scene.  Simpson performed a field sobriety test and was arrested, despite his denials that he had been drinking.  He refused a breath test at the Hennepin County jail and was booked.  This afternoon he was released on a $12,000 bond.

Simpson is playing under his second consecutive one-year deal with the Vikings.  He now has a number of obstacles to somersault over if he wants to continue playing for the Vikings, or any other NFL team, beyond 2013.

I have previously touted Leslie Frazier’s ability to keep his players out of trouble as a reason to keep him at the helm beyond this season.  That argument for Frazier just got a whole lot weaker, as have so many other arguments for Frazier these days.

Following yet another meltdown loss, the Vikings are about as interesting to us fans as the details surrounding the latest archeological search for a meat eating platypus.  In fact, that gives me an idea for a new blog…

Anyways, the Dallas game happened.  Here are five random things on my mind tonight:

1.  I Bailed On Ya

I’m sorry for not being present for our game-time live chat this week.  I had some issues rise up this week and weekend that had me in a foul mood.  I can’t imagine I would have been much fun in the chat, so I limited my scorn exclusively to our VT Twitter account for this one game.  That will change on Thursday night as I will be there, with bells on, to cheer Christian Ponder to a 1-6 record for the year!

2.  Christian Ponder Is 0-6 For The Year

Once again, all of the blame cannot be placed on the shoulders of Christian Ponder for this loss, but he just still isn’t showing up.  His offensive line played their best game of the season, by far, and the receivers seemed pretty on task.  Ponder’s inability to recognize a game situation other than run-of-the-mill snaps is bewildering, as evidenced by him holding the ball in the endzone for far too long and letting the Cowboys strip him for an easy score.  His interception was ugly.  Looking back at the film reveals open receivers when he chose to use his legs.  His hail mary attempt was just… just… just… I’m trying to find the words but I’m coming up short.

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The decision to sign quarterback Josh Freeman to an affordable, one-year contract was a no-brainer for the Vikings.  If he fails to establish himself as an answer at the position, then little is lost, and they can let him factor into the their compensatory pick equation following this season.  If he does succeed then they get first dibs on him moving forward.  Another possible result of the acquisition is added pressure on Christian Ponder to step up his game and it looks like Sunday we will see if that theory holds any water at all.

Only a few weeks after Ponder’s injury that sidelined him seemed to magically appear out of nowhere mid-week, the Vikings announced Wednesday that Josh Freeman has a concussion and it sounds like Ponder will regain his starting job because of it, as this team prepares to play Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.

“[Freeman] obviously won’t be able to practice today, so he loses a day,” Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “And when you consider the amount of time that he’s missed, it probably is going to be difficult. And also, looking at the history of guys who have concussions on the short week that are able to get cleared for Sundays, we’ll have to proceed as if he’s not going to make it.”

“There was nothing on the sidelines or during the game that made us ask him, ‘Are you all right?'” Frazier said (confirming that he wasn’t, you know, watching the game being played). “He didn’t say anything about it during the game or even postgame.”

Ponder vows to be more relaxed during his latest opportunity to lead the Vikings.

“I already got benched,” he said, “so it can’t get worse than that.”

As the Vikings get deeper and deeper into the 2013 season their losses are becoming more and more embarrassing.  A playoff team one season ago, the Vikings of today are putting some of the most putrid displays of football on the field that I have ever seen, and I’m counting the high school competitions I’ve watched… including junior varsity… in Alaska.

This team has been so awful in so many ways that it is difficult to diagnose any individual problems.  There are some obvious players to pick on, guys that lack certain skill sets, but all 32 teams in the league have guys like that.  There is something different about this Vikings team.  Something that just isn’t right.  Something that can’t be explained away by citing an overall lack of talent.  This team isn’t old, but it isn’t so young that it should be this bad.  In the past I’ve talked about Christian Ponder just not seeming to have that elusive “it” trait, which is a hard thing to explain about an individual player, but now I venture to say that this entire team just doesn’t have “it” this year.  How that happens to a collective group is even harder to explain.

Still, I have to do something other than pretend my website doesn’t exist.  I can’t just let you guys down and stop writing, no matter how much of a chore it feels like these days.  I can clean my gutters before I write, however, which is exactly what I did.  Despite the dirty task, Tuesday night has already been more of a success (and more enjoyable) than Monday night was.

There were no hidden treasures in my gutters tonight and, homers be warned, there are no hidden treasures in my analysis of last night’s debacle.  Here are 10 things that the Vikings need to fix prior to 2014 and I attempted to prioritize them:

10.  We Need A New Guard

Whether their regression is permanent or an anomaly, the Vikings will go into the future with their current starting tackles and center on the offensive line.  The guard positions are a different story, however, and if this team is going to make a move along the O-Line it will come at these spots.  Brandon Fusco hasn’t been too terrible this season, but Charlie Johnson should not be starting in the NFL, and these guys collectively need to be held accountable for their share of the Vikings struggles both running and passing.  It is once again time for the organization to bring some serious competition to the line and make a statement:  Continuity within the unit needs to be earned, not gifted.

With Harrison Smith being placed on Injured Reserve (designated to return), the Vikings have signed cornerback Jacob Lacey.  Andrew Sendejo will start at safety in Smith’s place.  Desmond Bishop also was placed on injured reserve this week and Rodney Smith was promoted from the practice squad to take his place.  Meanwhile, quarterback Josh Freeman will be rushed into action Monday night as the starter, with neither Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel showing the organization they have what it takes to command a championship-quality offense.

The mess is widespread.  There are clearly more problems than there are viable solutions.  With four losses to their one win, and the toughest part of the schedule yet to come, things are worse than bleak for the Vikings in 2013.  We are no longer witnessing a slow start, but instead are witnessing a quick death, and their final breath could end up coming on Monday Night Football against the winless Giants.

With nothing less to lose, however, the Vikings can really only win from this point forward.

Perhaps Josh Freeman jumpstarts this team.  Maybe they make a very interesting run at a wild card spot.  Maybe his height and strong arm will finally open up the running game in a way Adrian Peterson’s biggest fans have only dreamed of.  Maybe he knows what it takes to win, to lead a group of winners, and maybe the Vikings have one of the biggest free agency steals of all time on their hands.  Maybe they finally have a franchise quarterback.

Of course, maybe not.

Maybe Freeman doesn’t show us anything special and serves up more of the same.  Maybe the defense struggles even more than they already are with their stud safety sidelined with an injury.  Maybe the coaching and scheme are just not going to get it done.  Maybe this team continues to spiral further into the abyss.  Maybe the are destined to be one of the NFL’s worst this year.

Either way, it is hard to see the downside for this team as the season progresses, outside of (knock on wood) devastating injuries.  Either they get their collective act together and see some promise out of their new, young quarterback or they get closer and closer to securing one of the top picks in a very quarterback-heavy Draft.

We would all prefer they win games.  But, they haven’t been able to do that, and I don’t think it is too early to start eyeballing those consolation prizes.

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