Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Hartman: Ponder, Harvin form potent combo

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 20, 2012 - 7:35 AM

If you check the statistics of Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin from the first two games, you find that quarterback Christian Ponder is doing something right, even though some of the local media fawned over Colts QB Andrew Luck last week and already have him inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

The Vikings' second-year quarterback ranks sixth with a 110.6 rating among NFL passers behind Atlanta's Matt Ryan (117.6), San Francisco's Alex Smith (115.9), St. Louis' Sam Bradford (112.4), Washington's Robert Griffin III (111.6) and San Diego's Philip Rivers (110.7).

Luck, who I admit has a great future, ranks 26th with a 75.2 rating.

As for the Ponder-Harvin connection, since last Oct. 23, Harvin is tied for the league lead with 80 receptions.

It took Harvin five games last season to catch 18 passes for 183 yards. In two games this year, the former Florida star has 18 receptions for 188 yards. Harvin caught a career-high 12 passes against the Colts. He has caught 18 of the 21 passes thrown at him this season. He is on pace for 1,500 yards this season.

I can't recall a Vikings quarterback directing comebacks such as Ponder did the past two weeks, including the two late touchdown passes to tie the score against the Colts. The Vikings could have won that game had the defense not allowed Luck to throw two 20-yard passes in the final 31 seconds to set up the winning field goal.

Asked how he would grade his performance in the first two games, Ponder said: "Likely B-minus. I think there's a lot of things I can get better at and keep progressing in. There's always room for improvement."

Ponder pointed out some of his mistakes, such as the throw he forced to Harvin that was almost picked off and taking four sacks rather than getting rid of the ball.

Even though the Vikings beat Jacksonville and lost to the Colts, Ponder said the offense progressed from the first game to the second.

"We started moving the ball pretty consistently in the first half against Indianapolis," he said. "That was good to see that progression, but we still need to do some better things."

How would he compare his performance Sunday with Luck's?

"I think it ultimately comes down to wins and losses and he won the game, so that Sunday he was better than me," Ponder said. "I think I played OK, I played well enough. You're always disappointed in any loss. It was a close one. We had the momentum late in the second half and we figured that maybe we'd win it, but that's life in the NFL."

And now Sunday, Ponder gets a real test against the 49ers, no doubt the best team in the game today with a defense that will get him time after time if the offensive line doesn't have a good day.

Brewster products star

After every Gophers game, the university makes about five players who played well available to the local media to answer questions.

Following Saturday's 28-23 victory over Western Michigan, all five Gophers who earned the right to be interviewed were recruited by former Gophers coach Tim Brewster.

Defensive back Michael Carter is a senior and linebacker Mike Rallis is a redshirt senior. Defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman and wide receiver A.J. Barker are redshirt juniors. Running back Donnell Kirkwood is a redshirt sophomore. Max Shortell, a sophomore, was a senior in high school when he committed to Brewster, then still came to Minnesota under current coach Jerry Kill after Brewster was fired.

And while Brewster might have recruited them, all five of those players certainly have shown a lot of improvement the past two years under Kill and his staff.

Barker, for example, has caught four touchdown passes in the first three games this season. He is still not on scholarship.

"I've talked to A.J., and I kind of keep that with him and myself, and he's certainly doing a good job," Kill said. "Anytime we get a player that's doing some good things, and if he can continue that through the season, that's when we reward those kids. We did it with [redshirt sophomore defensive lineman] Cameron Botticelli.

"As long as [Barker] does what he needs to, he'll be fine. I think he's having a great time right now. I'm very proud of the things that he's doing."

Jottings

• Joe Mauer, who is hitting .324 after going 1-for-4 Wednesday night against Cleveland, has a chance for his fourth league batting title. At this time in 2006, Mauer was hitting .344 and leading the Yankees' Derek Jeter, who was at .340. In 2008, he was hitting .327 and just ahead of the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia, in second at .326. And in 2009, Mauer was hitting .373, well ahead of the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki at .357.

• It appears both the Gophers and Vikings will sell out their stadiums for the first time this season this week. Both teams have 2,000-plus tickets left for games against Syracuse on Saturday and San Francisco on Sunday.

• After catching four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against Green Bay, former Viking Randy Moss, who comes to town this weekend with the 49ers, had only one reception for 14 yards in San Francisco's Week 2 victory over Detroit.

• Gophers quarterback Shortell on injured starting QB MarQueis Gray: "MarQueis is a special player and I've learned a lot from him, watching him play. Watching him has really helped me expand my game and helped me to understand what I need to work on. I'm willing to continue to learn and try to do as much as I can with my chance when I get in. Our coaching staff does a great job working me in with reps, I'm just as prepared as the starter would be for the game. Our coaching staff does a great job with the game plan and getting me reps, so I'm well prepared for the game."

• The New York Yankees have joined Bill Austin and the Starkey Hearing Foundation to deliver hearing aids to more than 100 children and adults at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 10 a.m. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, will be on hand to assist with the presentations.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close