Hartman: Ponder performed when needed most

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 23, 2012 - 11:56 PM

The Vikings quarterback threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in knocking off the 49ers.

hide

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was at his best Sunday, completing 21 of 35 passes for 198 yards and hitting Kyle Rudolph for two touchdowns and running 23 yards to score another as the Viking scored a big upset in beating the 49ers 24-13 at Mall of America Field.

In the first three games of the NFL season, Ponder proved he can be the Vikings' quarterback of the future and be a good one.

None of the NFL experts gave the Vikings a chance against a team rated the best in football, especially after they played poorly last week in losing to a young Colts team that isn't expected to go anywhere.

But Sunday, the Vikings put on their best performance, offensively and defensively, in a long time, and maybe this victory will give them the confidence to continue winning when they play against the Lions in Detroit next Sunday.

The Vikings share the North lead with Chicago at 2-1. Green Bay, which plays Monday night at Seattle, is 1-1 and Detroit is 1-2.

As for Ponder, he credited the victory to the Vikings having the right mindset.

"It's all about attitude, and we came out with the right attitude," Ponder said. "Everyone's been counting us out since the end of last year, and in all of the preseason predictions. We know that we have a good team, and we wanted to come out and start fast, which we did, and finish strong, which we did. It's just all about attitude.

"This was a fun one for us. You know what? It's Week 3, it's the third game and we've got to move on to next week now.

"It does feel pretty good. For us to get this win is huge. Again, it's just one game, though. If this is the Super Bowl then we'd be celebrating, but we've still got 13 more games in the regular season.

"Everyone should have that mindset, that you can compete with the best. I'm going to go out and bust my butt and work hard and make sure we're competitive in every game."

Ponder said the team is better than it has been ranked.

"Everyone is counting us out in the NFC North, but we know we can be competitive," he said. "This is just one game, though, and we've got to get back to work and focus on Detroit next week."

Ponder said the Vikings offense believed it could move the ball on the ground against the 49ers.

"We knew we had to run the ball," he said. "Looking back at the teams they lost to last year, they ran the ball well. We ran the ball well, and that opened up the passing game. We just had to execute, and we executed.

"We knew we could move the ball if we just executed, and it worked out extremely well."

Praises Harvin

Ponder sang the praises of receiver and sometime running back Percy Harvin, who caught nine passes for 89 yards, most of them in critical situations.

"Percy Harvin is unbelievable," Ponder said. "He's one of the best receivers in this league, if not the best receiver. He's so versatile. We're just going to keep giving him the ball, and he's going to keep making plays."

Ponder has a lot of respect for the 49ers.

"Obviously they're a fantastic team," he said. "They're one of the best in the league. They might end up being the best team in football, but we were better today. We executed extremely well, and Coach [Bill] Musgrave on offense came up with such a great plan."

Ponder ended up being the Vikings' second-leading rusher with seven carries for 33 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

"I've got some wheels, man," he said. "I'm athletic, I can run the ball a little bit. No, I've had longer runs than that. It's my longest one in the NFL."

Big day for Greenway

Linebacker Chad Greenway, who led the Vikings with 13 tackles, including two sacks, said the defense knew all along it could play as well as it did Sunday.

"The first two games, we got beat up in some situations, and it was because we didn't pay attention to details," Greenway said.

"We weren't in the spots we needed to be in. This week was all about being attentive to details, getting after the guys, being physical, and getting back to the way we used to play defense around here. And we did it today."

Greenway said the game plan was to force the 49ers to pass.

"The fact of the matter is, we knew we had to stop their running game in order to get them in passing situations to be able to get after them, and that's what we did," he said.

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who finally got his first sack of the season sunday with a key hit to force a fumble, agreed with Greenway that the defense finally did things the right way.

"It was huge. Probably the biggest victory in years," he said. "We're starting to change the culture back to being a tough-nosed defense like we used to be.

"This week, with good preparation and, you know, a lot of veteran leadership this week, just guys getting a little grit in their belly and getting after it."

Peterson back in form

When the Vikings needed Adrian Peterson to make some big yardage on the ground, he came through in the second half.

Peterson had 25 carries for 86 yards, and all but 29 of those came in the second half when he helped the Vikings protect their lead and the ball.

"The more I play, the better I feel," Peterson said.

Yes, it takes some time once an athlete undergoes reconstructive knee surgery, but he has recovered faster than most. Peterson had his surgery last December.

49ers had the stats

There were a number of reasons why nobody expected the Vikings to beat the 49ers like they did Sunday, especially after struggling to beat the Jaguars and losing to the Colts, two teams ranked near the bottom of the league.

The 49ers had all of the stats in their favor coming into the game, being among the NFL leaders in rushing yards per game allowed (96.5), rushing touchdowns allowed (0) and points allowed (20.5).

And 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had posted a QB rating of 115.9 to rank second in the NFL to Matt Ryan of the Falcons, who had a 117.6 rating before Sunday's game. Smith also ranked third in the NFL with four touchdown passes and fifth in the NFL with a completion percentage of 70.2.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM 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

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close