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Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Ponder

The 2013 NFL season has started off on the wrong foot for the Minnesota Vikings, and head coach Leslie Frazier is willingly taking the blame after dropping the first 2 games on the road against division opponents. I am all for Frazier being more hands on and establishing a stronger vocal approach with his players and staff, but I wouldn’t say he is the right person to blame for the losses.

 The Vikings have played hard, overcame some adversities, made plays, and put themselves in a position to win both games, but miscues, inconsistent play and poor execution has shown it’s ugly head much too often for the Vikings to secure a win. The team has had moments where they have played very well and have looked the part of a playoff caliber team, yet other moments of blunder and mayhem have haunted an otherwise solid overall effort.

 Fans can point the blame in a number of directions up and down the Vikings roster, but no player is more scrutinized than 3rd year QB Christian Ponder. After 2 games this year, Ponder’s play continues to resemble something you would see in a Robert Louis Stevenson mystery-horror novel.

 A 67 QB rate with twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes would scare the… pigskin off most football coaches. But not coach Frazier. Despite rumors of a short leash, Frazier stuck with Ponder through the good and the ugly at a rainy Soldier Field.

 With 3:02 left in the first half against the Bears, and the game knotted at 14 each, Ponder threw a pick six on 1st and 10 from the Vikings 31 yard line. Most coaches might have been tempted to pulled the plug at that point on the struggling QB. However, after the interception, Frazier went over and looked into Ponders eyes, said a few encouraging words and saw enough confidence in his QB to stick with him. Ponder went on to complete 12 of his next 18 passes including a 20 touchdown strike to Kyle Rudolph. Three nice second half drives led to Blair Walsh field goals that capped a solid second half performance.

 So which Christian Ponder will we see verses the Cleveland Browns this weekend?

 The Browns are 0-2 and have scored a combined 16 points in 2 games… so, this would be a great time for the “good” Mr. Ponder to make an extended appearance on Sunday. However, if the “ugly” Mr. Ponder shows up, the home crowd boo-birds might come out in full force. Will Leslie Frazier continue to be patient and wait around for the “good” Mr Ponder to come and go? Or could a more hands-on approach by “Dr.” Frazier be the answer to controlling the mysterious erratic play of young Mr. Ponder?

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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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  1. Really, the Vikings proved they can play with the Lions and the Bears , and seem to have a good shot winning at home. Split the division games. Despite the odds of an 0-2 start, they almost always lose division games on the road. They’re getting their game together, Patterson needs Percy’s old plays and he could break thru now. That would change alot. The defense was making the plays we need. Weaknesses were exposed (Cook, special teams, coaches conservative game losing decision in redzone at end, LB’s) Bush and Hester killed us and if we would’ve went “all in ” on those 4 downs last week and got a TD, 1-1. Splitting the division games and win 7 of the rest. 10-6. That would be a good season in this division. If Ponder can at least be smart enough to run for the first down and stop throwing it to the wrong team, despite his limitations, we have a chance.

    1. Wow your optimistic. I’m seeing a 4-12 season this year. Our schedule is extremely difficult and were a weaker team than last year on defense at least.
      Brett Hurdley would be a nice consolation prize tho.

  2. Staring down the Receiver kills me.
    I would think he would be over doing that by now.

      1. Not rude, he just doesn’t want to confuse the defenders he’s very considerate that way.

  3. Fran: I assume you’re not silly enough to still go to the Seahawks game this year, right?