Jim Souhan: Winning streak plus marriage -- quite the roll for Ponder

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 24, 2012 - 8:49 AM

The newlywed's arm and legs sent the Vikings to an impressive road victory.

HOUSTON - Last Monday, Christian Ponder got married. On Sunday, he got down on one knee.

Six days after driving to Wisconsin for a stealth wedding, Ponder knelt in the victory formation at the end of an impressive 23-6 road victory over the Houston Texans, one way of proposing that the Vikings are a playoff team.

"Coach Frazier said I should get married every other day," Ponder said.

That may be illegal in Minnesota, but pretty much anything goes in Wisconsin, so it's a possibility.

It's difficult to say whether his marriage or his success proved more surprising to Minnesotans this week. Sunday he faced one of the NFL's strongest teams on the road knowing that a loss would all but eliminate the Vikings from the playoff chase. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions, although he did fumble once.

He also ran seven times for 48 yards, including a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter during which he looked like he intended to run out the clock, even though there were nine minutes left. He took off right, cut back left, then looked for a patch of turf with the right sleep number before sliding to a stop.

He took the kind of route, at about the same speed, as a fan trying to avoid security personal while streaking.

"I was tired," he said. "So I just slid and said, OK, and gave up."

In other NFL precincts there were quarterbacks throwing for 400 yards. Ponder isn't ready to duel with them.

In other NFL precincts there were quarterbacks losing their jobs or getting their coaches fired. After a string of midseason games during which he looked like he was shrinking, Ponder no longer looks he should be approached only by those wearing Haz-Mat suits.

Since throwing two killing interceptions at Green Bay on Dec. 2, Ponder has guided the Vikings to three consecutive victories while throwing just one interception, and his résumé now includes victories against the Texans and 49ers, two of the league's best teams.

"I knew I had to play my best," he said.

Ponder has begun taking advantage of defenses cantilevered to stop Adrian Peterson, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has designed game plans based on play-action fakes and bootlegs. That game-planning has been most obvious early in games.

During the first Vikings' drive of the past three games, Ponder is 7-for-7 passing for 111 yards, with three runs for 9 yards. Those three drives have ended with a Peterson touchdown run, a Ponder touchdown run and a Ponder touchdown pass.

It's not just the teams that are unpredictable in the NFL. It's the individuals, too. Ponder hit a professional low in the loss at Green Bay, throwing two interceptions that looked more like indictments than mistakes. After that game, Peterson and Frazier, among others, stopped by Ponder's locker to console him as the quarterback stared at his feet and lingered in his uniform.

Sunday afternoon, Frazier approached Ponder in the locker room and yelled "CP!" He threw his arms around his quarterback, whispered something, and the two began laughing.

"I told him," Frazier said, "that marriage suits him well."

Ponder then dressed and made his way to the interview room, where he was greeted by television cameras set up in a darkened room.

"I like the romantic lighting," he said. "It's nice."

Yes, he really said that. Six days after getting married while many fans screamed virtual screams about his lack of commitment to football, Ponder earned his most meaningful victory and joked about romantic lighting.

Ponder has handled scrutiny of his play with grace. He was asked whether scrutiny of his personal life, particularly the timing of his marriage, is more difficult to bear.

"It's different," he said. "It's something that obviously comes with the territory.

"Football is very important to me. Whatever goes on in my personal life, I'm 100 percent focused on football. When it takes an hour of my day to get married, I'm not losing any time in the film room."

Every week in the NFL provides a different challenge, though, and this week will mark the first time Ponder has played a team from the state that just hosted his wedding.

For the sake of Vikings fans, why couldn't he have just driven to Dubuque?

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Souhan blog: Vikings are 9-6? Vikings are 9-6

    Sunday December 23, 2012

    How'd it happen?

  • A little meandering didn’t hurt Christian Ponder as he scrambled for 29 yards in the fourth quarter.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati 1 Bottom 5th Inning
St. Louis 1
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 3 2nd Qtr 5:43
Carolina 3
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 2nd Prd 2:07
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close