Ponder aims to improve touch

  • Updated: August 26, 2012 - 8:58 PM

Don't worry, Christian Ponder said. Upon further review, all of the hiccups he and the Vikings offense had in Friday's loss to San Diego are correctable.

The offense, which had been developing a preseason rhythm, struggled in the 12-10 loss. Over two-plus quarters, Ponder completed nine of 16 passes for 115 yards, no touchdowns and an interception and he was sacked five times. There are things Ponder said he has to do better:

• Step up in the pocket to avoid sacks. "After watching [the tape], that's the biggest thing for me," Ponder said after Sunday's practice. "It's something we focused on today, doing some drills. Just hitting the last step in the drop, setting the depth and just moving forward."

• Improve his touch. Ponder said a couple of the key incompletions -- including two early quick-toss third-down misses to Michael Jenkins that ended the Vikings' first two drives -- came as a result of his throwing the ball too hard. "It was early in the game, I was pumped up, and I just let it go," he said.

That said, he concluded, don't worry.

"We left a lot of plays out on the field," he said. "We moved the ball, but just had dumb mistakes that came at the wrong time. Completely correctable."

Thin at safety

With so many injuries at safety, and with the Vikings loathe to play their starters in Thursday's preseason finale, the question is: Who will play against Houston?

Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford played mega minutes Friday because Mistral Raymond experienced pregame back spasms, Eric Frampton strained his groin in the second half and Andrew Sendejo sustained an ankle sprain.

None of the injuries appear to be significant. But Raymond and Raymond missed Sunday's practice.

So who will face the Texans? One starter will be Robert Blanton. Coach Leslie Frazier said Blanton -- coming back from a hamstring injury -- would play significant minutes while getting his first preseason action.

Aside from that, Frazier said, the team would mix and match at the position to get through the game.

Wright gets comfortable

Will Marcus Sherels' ankle sprain open a door as a returner to Jarius Wright? Wright returned two punts for 29 yards, including a 24-yarder that set up a field goal late in the first half.

"He seemed very comfortable catching the ball," Frazier said. "He showed some confidence. So we'll keep feeding him. He showed something. He showed he's worthy of us giving him more opportunities."

Injury update

Tight end John Carlson (knee), cornerback Chris Cook (concussion) both returned to practice Sunday, and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) continued to practice. But they likely won't play Thursday.

Guard Geoff Schwartz (sports hernia), Raymond, Sendejo, Sherels, corner Josh Robinson (concussion), corner Chris Carr (back spasms) and fullback Ryan D'Imperio (shoulder) didn't practice. Frazier said Schwartz, who is moving well, could return to practice next week.

Rooting for Rice

On Thursday, just minutes from where the Vikings and Houston will end their preseasons, Rice University will open its season by playing host to UCLA. Frazier and Texans coach Gary Kubiak each have sons playing for the Owls. Corey Frazier is a senior safety and Klein Kubiak is a junior receiver. By following their sons play, Frazier and Kubiak have become friends.

"We'll both have our minds split a little bit, I guarantee you," Frazier joked.

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