Saturday, April 18, 2015
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kyle rudolph

On December 26, 2012, Chase Ford was signed by the Vikings to join the practice squad. The 6-foot-6 255 pound tight end from the University of Miami was originally a 2012 undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles.

With only 16 total receptions in his junior and senior seasons at Miami, Chase was a bit of an unknown prospect until he got noticed after a solid week at the East West Shrine Game. Miami’s tight ends are known for their outstanding athleticism and Chase is no exception. He is a natural pass catcher with fluid body control and good speed for a big body. Chase has huge hands, a tall frame and terrific hand and eye coordination allowing him to snag passes even in tight coverage.

 Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN.com had this same idea in August 2013 when he compared Christian Ponder to other quarterbacks. Well, now it’s my turn to add two cents and lay some tracks down this Ponder path.

Rich  Gannon had a long 17 year career in the NFL as a quarterback largely due to his mobility and toughness. Ponder reminds me a little bit of Gannon in the fact that he can make plays on the run and doesn’t have the world’s greatest arm.

 Gannon didn’t play much during his first three seasons in Minnesota, but he became the Vikings’ starter in his following three seasons. Gannon was a serviceable quarterback for the Vikings, however his stats in his first 42 starts for the Vikings, Redskins and Chiefs combined were nothing more than average at best. In his first nine years in the NFL, Gannon was 21-21 as a starter completing just 56.6% of his pass attempts while throwing for 49 touchdowns and 44 interceptions with a quarterback rate of 73.8.

Like a fine wine that improves with age, Gannon transformed into a very good quarterback at the age of 32. In his last two seasons at Kansas City and his final six years in Oakland he performed at his best. During that time frame, Gannon had a 55-35 record completing 61% of his attempts and throwing 131 touchdowns with 60 interceptions. Gannon won the NFL’s MVP award in 2002 as he guided the Raiders to the Super Bowl and the top rated offense.

Can Christian Ponder develop into a great NFL quarterback too? If he can hang around the league long enough, I think he has enough skill set to be able to pull off a “Gannon like” MVP season at some point in his career. And as for now, it appears the Vikings want to hold onto Ponder for a little while longer. GM Rick Spielman said Friday that he is anxious to see how Ponder looks under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner this off-season. “Christian will be here; I don’t anticipate anything — him not being here,” Spielman said, via Master Tesfatsion of the Startribune. “Right now we’re looking at quarterbacks, so we would say we don’t have the position solidified. I know Christian does have the physical abilities to do it, but for whatever reason things haven’t come together for him.”

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.

Kyle Rudolph at Cowboys 11/3/13
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

The hits just keep on coming. Kyle Rudolph, who was injured on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder in the third quarter of yesterday’s game against the Cowboys, could be out for a month with a fractured foot.

“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he’ll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”

Though the amount Rudolph has been utilized this season has left something to be desired amongst many Vikings fans hoping for a big year, the loss of one of Ponder’s favorite redzone targets still hurts. As Frazier stated above, this will mean that John Carlson, the Vikings $25 million back-up tight end, will get more playing time.

Phil Loadholt, who suffered a concussion Sunday, did not practice today.

Other Vikings players who did not practice and are now dealing with injuries include: Fred Evans, Jamarca Sanford, Xavier Rhodes, Letroy Guion, Rhett Ellison and Charlie Johnson.

 

Kyle Rudolph TD Carolina
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Finding a positive word to write after the Vikings were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday is a daunting task, even for an optimist like me.

My mother taught me; if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

Well, I can’t just leave this blog blank, can I? No, I need to find a ray of light in this dark Vikings’ cellar I am stuck in. It’s a deep, damp hole for sure, but I do see a glimmer of light shining down on the Vikings’ 6-foot-6 TE, Kyle Rudolph.

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