Plenty of secondary, and primary, concerns for Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 21, 2011 - 8:51 AM

A scouting report on Saturday's game reveals issues in both backfields.


Minnesota Vikings' Christian Ponder

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A snapshot look at the Vikings as they prepare for Saturday's game in Washington against the Redskins.

Player in the spotlight

It's been awhile since Chris Cook (below) has been brought up at Winter Park. The cornerback was arrested on felony domestic assault charges in mid-October, was suspended for one game and basically has been on a paid leave of absence since Nov. 7. That has left the Vikings with the equivalent of a 52-man roster the past eight games, short-handed in a season in which they could use extra help.

Coach Leslie Frazier was asked Monday if he had any regrets about Cook occupying a roster spot for two months without contributing.

"There was a lot of discussion prior to making that decision; a lot of discussion," Frazier said. "We went through all the 'what ifs' and all the possibilities. ... I was in agreement with the decision."

The organization's philosophy seems logical: Until a resolution in Cook's case provides substantial reason to cut ties, the Vikings are content with this wait-and-see approach. With the secondary woes as eye-opening as they are, you can bet the Vikings hope for the best-case scenario, hesitant to let a promising young player go at a position of major need.

Most pressing question

Q: Did Jared Allen have a right to be angry for not playing down the stretch Sunday?

A: Nope.

Most likely, the standout defensive end was simply blowing off steam immediately after the game when he griped about being removed in the fourth quarter. But it was absolutely the right decision.

Allen is a prideful guy and a passionate player who would love to set the NFL's single-season sacks record. But when the coaching staff yanked him Sunday, the Vikings trailed 42-13 in the fourth quarter and Allen just barely had averted a catastrophe when he was chop-blocked by Saints center Brian De La Puente with 7:30 to play. The Vikings have way too much invested in their star defensive end to risk a serious injury in the latter stages of a lopsided loss. Plus, it didn't significantly hurt his chances of adding to his sack total. After his departure, New Orleans ran only six plays, all handoffs to Chris Ivory.

Keep an eye on ...

Arguably no player has more on the line in the final two games than Christian Ponder, who must prove he can be a reliable leader for the future even after suffering through woeful performances the past two weeks. Ponder must now has two weeks to show marked growth without pressing too hard. And his teammates must keep encouraging him without being so overly supportive that they get in his head.

See the fine line?

Said tight end Visanthe Shiancoe: "Confidence is everything with a quarterback. Everything. So we'll encourage him in any way we can. You try to put your little two cents in every now and then. But at the same time, don't beat a dead horse. You can't do that. So you have to be very, very careful. Especially with a rookie who's going to be discombobulated at times."

Scouting the Redskins

At 5-9, Washington is an average team at best. But the Redskins are coming off a surprising 23-10 road victory over the Giants. In that game, their defense came up with three takeaways and three times held the Giants scoreless after they had driven inside the 20. The Vikings defense will have to key on running back Roy Helu, who has 966 yards from scrimmage this season. It's also worth noting that linebacker London Fletcher is the NFL leader in tackles this season with 146, free to make plays thanks to the help provided up front by nose tackle Barry Cofield and end Stephen Bowen.

True or false

Q: The Vikings' interception drought will end this weekend?

A: False.

After going nine consecutive games without an interception, a league record, the Vikings should have good opportunities to break that streak Saturday. After all, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman has thrown at least one interception in each of his past 10 starts and has averaged one pick every 25 passes during his career. But even with Grossman's error-prone tendencies, the Vikings might be forced to attack with the following five players seeing the bulk of the secondary workload: Benny Sapp, Marcus Sherels, Brandon Burton, Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond. That quintet has eight career interceptions among them -- two by Sanford and six by Sapp.

  • VIKINGS • Up next: Noon Saturday at Washington • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?

Weekly Question