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.

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

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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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Detroit 39 2nd Qtr 5:58
Washington 50
Atlanta 15 1st Qtr 4:59
Miami 9
Toronto 10 1st Qtr 5:34
New York 11
Memphis 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Utah
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Florida 5
Detroit 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Carolina 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
New Jersey 2 FINAL
Columbus 0
Arizona 1 3rd Prd 5:10
Boston 4
Toronto 0 2nd Prd
Montreal 2
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Colorado
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
La Salle 56
Western Carolina 67 FINAL
Citadel 54
Nebraska Omaha 87 FINAL
IUPUI 80
Maine 56 FINAL
New Hampshire 65
Samford 80 FINAL
Va Military 69
Presbyterian 53 FINAL
Winthrop 80
Utah State 74 FINAL
Air Force 60
Vermont 73 FINAL
Albany 79
UMBC 69 FINAL
Binghamton 76
Indiana State 60 FINAL
Bradley 52
Butler 67 FINAL
DePaul 53
Illinois State 69 FINAL
Evansville 67
Wright State 46 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 61
Fla Gulf Coast 67 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Ole Miss 63 FINAL
LSU 73
North Carolina 73 FINAL
Miami-Florida 64
Wagner 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
TCU 60 FINAL
Oklahoma 67
Delaware 65 FINAL
Towson 60
Cincinnati 63 FINAL
Tulane 47
Dayton 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Northern Iowa 60 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Drexel 80 FINAL
William & Mary 66
Oakland 63 FINAL
Green Bay 83
Villanova 78 FINAL
Xavier 66
Campbell 65 FINAL
Longwood 70
Sarah Lawrence 55 FINAL
NJIT 90
Middle Tennessee 95 FINAL
UAB 100
UNC-Asheville 95 FINAL
Liberty 77
Southern Utah 71 FINAL
North Dakota 65
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Chicago State 65
ULM 43 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Bowling Green 62 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 57
Long Island 73 FINAL
Sacred Heart 84
West Virginia 66 FINAL
Baylor 78
Holy Cross 77 FINAL
Boston Univ 70
MD-Eastern Shore 69 FINAL
Delaware State 65
Wofford 62 FINAL
Furman 60
Montana State 73 FINAL
Idaho 80
Hofstra 73 FINAL
James Madison 82
Iowa State 69 FINAL
Kansas State 70
Arkansas 67 FINAL
Kentucky 84
Missouri State 51 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 65
Fordham 74 FINAL
Massachusetts 82
Nicholls 78 FINAL
McNeese State 83
East Tenn St 64 FINAL
Mercer 69
Coppin State 88 FINAL
Morgan State 77
San Diego 78 FINAL
Portland 66
Gardner-Webb 62 FINAL
Radford 72
St Francis-PA 70 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Duquesne 75 FINAL
St Bonaventure 92
Creighton 66 FINAL
Seton Hall 67
Oklahoma State 62 FINAL
Texas Tech 63
Alabama 66 FINAL
Vanderbilt 73
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
Virginia 69
Bethune-Cookman 49 FINAL
NC Central 72
St Francis-NY 51 FINAL
Bryant 61
Drake 57 FINAL
Southern Ill 63
High Point 93 FINAL
Char Southern 97
Central Conn St 66 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 73
Eastern Mich 72 FINAL
Western Mich 80
Texas 64 FINAL
Kansas 69
Chattanooga 61 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 58
SE Louisiana 69 2nd Half 0:06
Central Arkansas 73
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
South Dakota 80
Montana 77 FINAL
Eastern Wash 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 64
Old Dominion 70 FINAL
North Texas 57
Arkansas State 60 FINAL
Texas State 70
Texas Southern 36 2nd Half 18:00
Alabama State 37
Tennessee St 62 FINAL
Belmont 88
Princeton 78 2nd Half 1:37
Brown 59
Dartmouth 56 FINAL
Cornell 45
Tennessee 45 2nd Half 3:45
Florida 62
Jacksonville St 55 FINAL
Morehead State 87
San Jose St 48 2nd Half 5:06
Nevada 50
Florida A&M 54 2nd Half 3:00
NC A&T 64
Iowa 64 2nd Half 4:47
Penn State 63
Loyola Marymount 41 2nd Half 3:37
Pepperdine 55
Miss State 55 2nd Half 4:47
South Carolina 71
Savannah State 57 2nd Half 5:43
SC State 45
Miss Valley St 28 2nd Half 11:33
Jackson State 63
Alcorn State 35 2nd Half 15:00
Southern U 39
Harvard 37 1st Half 0:55
Columbia 23
George Washington 30 2nd Half
Davidson 32
Syracuse 25 1st Half 0:36
Duke 34
Tenn Tech 30 2nd Half
Eastern Ky 26
UNC-Wilmington 22 1st Half 1:38
Elon 34
Stony Brook 40 1st Half 0:03
Hartford 25
Northwestern 23 2nd Half
Illinois 45
Western Ill 33 2nd Half
IUPU-Ft Wayne 41
Buffalo 30 1st Half 2:33
Kent State 31
Incarnate Word 26 1st Half 3:50
Lamar 34
Cal State Fullerton 27 2nd Half
Long Beach State 43
TX-San Antonio 25 2nd Half
Louisiana Tech 34
Fla Atlantic 41 2nd Half
Marshall 37
Richmond 31 2nd Half
Saint Josephs 25
George Mason 43 2nd Half
Saint Louis 24
Austin Peay 27 2nd Half
SE Missouri St 41
Ball State 25 2nd Half
Toledo 36
Penn 28 2nd Half
Yale 25
Milwaukee 46 1st Half 0:50
Youngstown St 27
Stetson 33 2nd Half
North Florida 42
USC Upstate 32 2nd Half
Northern Ky 35
Grand Canyon 27 1st Half 0:30
UMKC 20
Abilene Christian 12 1st Half 11:10
New Orleans 19
Murray State 24 1st Half 6:44
UT Martin 20
Hampton 19 1st Half 11:27
Howard 16
Prairie View 16 1st Half 11:50
Alabama A&M 15
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Memphis
Wyoming 7:00 PM
UNLV
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Denver 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Rice
Boise State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
St Marys-CA 7:00 PM
Santa Clara
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
New Mexico St 0 Postponed
TX-Pan American 0
FIU 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Ga Southern 7:15 PM
Louisiana
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Auburn 7:30 PM
Texas A&M
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 0 1st Half
Cal Poly 0
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
CS-Northridge
Washington 9:30 PM
USC
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Seattle
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UC Santa Barbara
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Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 45 FINAL
Stetson 77
Samford 65 FINAL
Mercer 70
Liberty 64 FINAL
Campbell 57
North Texas 48 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
St Francis-NY 62 FINAL
Bryant 52
St Francis-PA 58 FINAL
Robert Morris 73
Long Island 71 FINAL
Sacred Heart 78
Sam Houston St 52 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 60
Kent State 59 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 66
ULM 61 FINAL
Appalachian St 80
Boston U 62 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Nicholls 73 FINAL
McNeese State 68
Akron 80 FINAL
Buffalo 87
Ball State 50 FINAL
Western Mich 51
MD-Eastern Shore 68 FINAL
Delaware State 61
Northern Ill 52 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 60
Bowling Green 47 FINAL
Ohio U 67
Central Michigan 53 FINAL
Toledo 62
Coppin State 55 FINAL
Morgan State 73
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC Central 33
Central Conn St 77 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 56
Memphis 24 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 87
Georgia Tech 67 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
East Carolina 69 FINAL
Temple 79
Fairfield 72 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Niagara 53 FINAL
Iona 81
Marist 65 FINAL
Rider 56
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Purdue 56
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
USC Upstate 60
East Tenn St 42 FINAL
(18) Chattanooga 64
Furman 70 FINAL
Wofford 53
Longwood 58 FINAL
Charleston Southern 51
UNC-Asheville 87 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 53
Winthrop 60 FINAL
Presbyterian 53
Western Ill 75 FINAL
South Dakota 78
Detroit 78 FINAL
Valparaiso 57
Cleveland State 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 88
Lafayette 41 FINAL
Army 57
Arkansas State 74 FINAL
Texas State 83
IUPUI 53 FINAL
South Dakota St 82
Tennessee St 70 FINAL
Belmont 53
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Jacksonville St 83 FINAL
Morehead St 78
Kansas State 47 FINAL
TCU 67
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
SMU 46
SE Louisiana 57 FINAL
Central Arkansas 73
Denver 40 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 53
Tulane 52 FINAL
Tulsa 54
IUPU-Ft Wayne 56 FINAL
Oral Roberts 84
Air Force 50 FINAL
Utah State 84
San Diego State 58 FINAL
Boise State 62
Fresno State 60 FINAL
New Mexico 63
Florida A&M 42 FINAL
NC A&T 78
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
BYU 66
South Florida 99 FINAL
UCF 71
UCLA 61 FINAL
Washington 74
(3) Baylor 71 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Tenn Tech 84 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 71
UMKC 42 FINAL
Grand Canyon 56
Seattle 61 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 73
Texas Southern 64 FINAL
Alabama State 52
Santa Clara 71 FINAL
St Marys-CA 74
UNLV 68 FINAL
Wyoming 99
Savannah State 55 FINAL
SC State 52
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Miss Valley St 54 FINAL
Jackson State 58
Bucknell 55 FINAL
American Univ 65
Radford 63 FINAL
High Point 83
Eastern Washington 59 FINAL
Montana 69
Idaho 62 FINAL
Montana State 71
Weber State 56 FINAL
Idaho State 63
Green Bay 73 FINAL
Youngstown St 27
Oakland 54 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 64
Austin Peay 72 FINAL
SE Missouri St 67
Wagner 65 FINAL
Mount St Marys 68
Portland 72 FINAL
San Diego 80
Nevada 72 FINAL
San Jose St 81
Stephen F Austin 69 FINAL
Houston Baptist 57
Incarnate Word 64 FINAL
Lamar 81
Abilene Christian 50 FINAL
New Orleans 71
Pepperdine 57 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 74
San Francisco 91 FINAL
Pacific 79
Prairie View 81 FINAL
Alabama A&M 71
Hampton 106 FINAL
Howard 57
Chicago State 53 FINAL
Utah Valley U 68
Cal Poly 75 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 84
UC Santa Barbara 57 FINAL
UC Davis 52
Marshall 73 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 83
Portland State 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 123
Western Ky 88 FINAL
FIU 47
UAB 58 2nd Half 0:27
Middle Tennessee 55
Georgia Southern 33 2nd Half 1:37
Louisiana 62
Grambling 39 2nd Half
Ark-Pine Bluff 34
Ark-Little Rock 48 FINAL
TX-Arlington 38
Cornell 33 FINAL
Dartmouth 54
Columbia 81 FINAL
Harvard 82
Brown 67 2nd Half 0:20
(14) Princeton 77
USC 55 2nd Half 3:51
Washington St 59
(24) California 55 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 73
Yale 20 2nd Half
Penn 25
Murray State 74 FINAL
UT Martin 87
Loyola-Maryland 18 2nd Half
Navy 22
Jacksonville 19 2nd Half
(21) Fla Gulf Coast 31
Long Beach St 32 2nd Half
Cal State Fullerton 28
Rice 20 2nd Half
Charlotte 25
Colgate 15 1st Half 10:30
Lehigh 3
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Kansas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
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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 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

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