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Continued: Hartman: Ponder performed when needed most

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

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

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Chicago 17 3rd Qtr 2:33
Detroit 24
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 54 2nd Half 3:56
Butler 42
Austin Peay 33 2nd Half
Brown 38
Princeton 20 2nd Half
Texas-El Paso 23
Coastal Carolina 15 1st Half 11:52
Chattanooga 17
Kansas 17 1st Half 12:31
Rhode Island 8
Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Georgetown
FIU 2:30 PM
USC Upstate
Long Island 3:00 PM
Stony Brook
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 65 2nd Half 6:19
Ohio State 64
Idaho State 32 2nd Half
San Diego State 30
East Carolina 27 2nd Half
(22) Syracuse 47
Santa Clara 2:30 PM
Texas-El Paso
Florida State 2:30 PM
Washington
Wichita State 2:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Kansas State 5:00 PM
LSU
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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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 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 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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