Five things about the Vikings offense

  • Updated: July 25, 2012 - 9:52 PM
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Last Dec. 24, Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson pulled off a highlight-reel play for the ages, flipping over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington for a touchdown. Simpson will join the Vikings this season.

Photo: Darron Cummings, Associated Press

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1 BIGGEST PRIORITY

Nothing the Vikings do, did or will do matters unless second-year quarterback Christian Ponder is comfortable and confident running coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense. This is Ponder's first training camp as the starter. He has been given a rebuilt offensive line, a potential star deep threat in Jerome Simpson and another big target in tight end John Carlson. He also has had a full offseason to work with Musgrave, something the two didn't enjoy during last year's NFL lockout. Now, Ponder and Musgrave need to piece it all together at full speed during training camp and the preseason.

2 MOST EXCITING NEWCOMER

Jerome Simpson. Sorry, Matt Kalil. You're the fourth overall draft pick and all, but your job as a potential superstar left tackle is to make us forget about you for the next 10 to 15 years. "Most exciting newcomer" goes to the dude who did that Christmas Eve goal-line flip over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington. It was the most exciting play of the 2011 NFL season and an example of the much-needed downfield athleticism the Vikings are counting on from the former Bengal once he returns from an NFL-imposed three-game suspension to start the season.

3 THE PRESSURE'S ON ...

Christian Ponder. He's a likeable fella with what seems to be a winning makeup. But he also has yet to disprove the notion that he was a reach at the 12th overall pick in 2011. Time lost during the NFL lockout and the Donovan McNabb fiasco gives Ponder a free pass for a wildly inconsistent rookie season. That ends in Mankato this summer. If Ponder doesn't show progress this season, things are going to get uncomfortable for the entire franchise. Except Joe Webb, of course.

4 FUN TO WATCH

Simpson vs. Chris Cook. Simpson has the long frame, ball skills and speed the Vikings have lacked in a No. 1 receiver. Cook is a big cornerback who was beginning to emerge as a breakout cover guy before his legal woes wiped out the final 10 games of last season. Wake up, Mankato. The deep forward pass could make its return this summer.

5 BREAKTHROUGH POTENTIAL

The Vikings' No. 3 running back essentially will be the No. 2 back while starter Adrian Peterson is eased back from a knee reconstruction. That gives 22-year-old Jordan Todman ample time to turn heads with his speed, shiftiness and passion for practice. A sixth-round pick of the Chargers in 2011, Todman was signed off San Diego's practice squad with a week left in the season. The 5-9, 193-pounder has the potential to be an exciting change-of-pace back behind Peterson and Toby Gerhart. But first he has to beat out veteran newcomer Lex Hilliard.

MARK CRAIG

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels 2 Top 9th Inning
Oakland 5
NY Mets 2 Top 9th Inning
Los Angeles 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 4th Qtr 6:55
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
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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 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
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

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