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Ponder insists knee, self-esteem both fine

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and CHRIS MILLER
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • November 8, 2012 - 7:38 AM

Christian Ponder doesn't agree with the people who say his recent accuracy issues stem from a knee injury.

"Not at all," said the Vikings quarterback, who has completed less than 55 percent of his passes in each of the past three games. "My [right] knee has been fine. Even when it was injured, it didn't really hurt. It was just swelling and no real pain."

Although he was slow to get up once during the Vikings' 30-20 loss at Seattle on Sunday, he said he didn't suffer any further damage to the knee.

As for his confidence and the widespread theory that it's completely kaput, Ponder said it's A-OK.

"Confidence breeds from preparation, and I think we're really preparing well and we have great game plans," Ponder said. "It just goes back to us executing. But I have full confidence in what I'm doing.

"It just goes back to execution, and my execution needs to pick up."

Spotlight fades

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe became the face of the opposition to the state amendment that would have defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, a proposal that was defeated in Tuesday night's election.

Kluwe said he was relieved at the result and the election being over.

"It took away a lot of my video playing time," he joked. "But human rights are more important than playing Xbox and PlayStation.

"It'll be nice to not have a bunch of people around my locker -- hopefully I can play well and everyone can go back to ignoring the punter."

Vikings officials didn't talk to Kluwe about his political activism, he said, other than mainly supporting "the fact that you can speak your mind and play football on Sunday. That's what it really boils down to."

Gaps and wraps

After four consecutive games in which an opposing back has run for more than 100 yards, the Vikings are determined to improve their run defense. Seattle had 195 yards rushing on Sunday.

"Guys weren't always in their gaps, and we missed a lot of tackles," defensive end Brian Robison said. "When teams are able to run on you like they were Sunday, it opens up their playbook for pretty much everything. They can play-action pass, they can still run the ball, they can drop back, pretty much anything they want to do. So the bottom line for us is, we got to make sure we stop the run and get them into a one-dimensional offense."

Not the same

Coach Leslie Frazier made it clear that receiver Jerome Simpson is not the same player he saw before a lower left leg injury in early October.

"You look at the tape and you know that," Frazier said. "He's still able to give us some things, but he's not where he was before the injury, for sure."

After serving a three-game suspension to start the season, Simpson returned against the Lions on Sept. 30 at Ford Field. He caught only four passes for 50 yards, but one was a 27-yarder in which he leapt over a defender for a first down late in the game. He also forced two pass interference calls on deep routes. The following week, he woke up the day of the Tennessee game with weakness and numbness in his lower left leg.

Simpson was held without a catch that game, but it was determined that his problem was related to a back issue. Simpson was inactive the following week at Washington and, in the three games since then, has just four catches for 59 yards.

"It's held me back a little bit, but I'm feeling better each week," Simpson said.

Etc.

• Frazier on Percy Harvin's sprained left ankle: "We'll take it day to day and see how he's doing tomorrow. But he's improving."

• Neither Harvin nor nose tackle Letroy Guion (turf toe) practiced Wednesday.

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