Live Chat excerpts: Victory over 49ers also leaves room for improvement

  • Updated: September 25, 2012 - 8:53 PM

The Live Chat is every Tuesday at noon. Read it in full at startribune.com/vikings.

Vikings beat writer Dan Wiederer does a Live Chat at noon on Tuesdays at startribune.com. Here is an edited version of this week's Chat.

Q: Can the Vikings maintain this momentum the rest of the year and play as well as they did in the 49ers game, or will they revert back to their old ways?

A: Million-dollar question. I'd caution fans from thinking the performance that was delivered Sunday will become the norm. I just don't see it happening with a team this young, this unproven. In reality, we may likely look back on Week 3 as the most complete and crisp game the Vikings play all season. But you also can't underestimate how important that win was to keep the negativity away. The demons of last season have not been fully vanquished yet -- at least in terms of fan skepticism. So seeing obvious strides forward is great for this team. I think Leslie Frazier has the right blueprint to win big in this league. He just needs time. This is a huge year for proving they're pointed in the right direction.

Q: Any timetable for Mistral Raymond yet?

A: That injury looked really bad when it happened. I think the Vikings were incredibly relieved to learn there was no fracture. But that said, this is a very significant injury that includes a bone bruise on the right ankle and a dislocation. ... I asked Frazier yesterday what was the minimum amount of time Raymond would miss and he said they wouldn't know until Mistral visited a specialist.

But for now that leaves the Vikings in a considerable bind at safety. Jamarca Sanford is a great teammate, an energetic guy with positive vibes. And he will be praised for having the kind of selfless attitude that this team wants to build around. But peel away that layer and the fact remains: The Vikings don't think he's a starting NFL safety. They worry deeply about his abilities in pass coverage and his inability to make many plays on the ball. And guess who the Vikings play this weekend? Detroit. Pretty explosive passing attack.

Q: Stickum for Toby [Gerhart] this weekend?

A: Yeah. And a sports psychologist to make sure he doesn't get too far into his own head. It's a minor thing, but in addition to Sanford's heightened role, my other big worry coming out of Sunday is how Toby will respond to that miserable finish. He was pretty glum when he got to the locker room Sunday. And the Vikings will need him to run with his usual power and confidence to help take some wear off Peterson. If Gerhart starts worrying about holding the football and loses some of his instinct and ability to plow forward, we might see a flood of 1-yard gains, 2-yard gains, no gains. That is not something this offense can afford.

Q: Has Ponder arrived or too early to anoint him the long-term solution?

A: Too early to anoint. What I want to see next is when Ponder experiences a major stinker -- and believe me, it will come -- can he bounce back right away? He really slumped down the stretch of his rookie year and has, by his own admission, a problem with being too hard on himself. So how will he respond when things go haywire? That said, what he has shown through three games is encouraging. Making great decisions. Using his athleticism wisely. Not trying to do too much.

Q: If what happened to the Packers on Monday happened to the Vikings, is this as big an issue?

A: Obviously, the Packers are a spotlight team right now. And they were playing on Monday night with every person who cares about football watching and Tweeting. So the outrage over the call mushroomed like nothing I've ever seen before. Yes, the Packers got jobbed. But I will say the level of outrage Monday night and Tuesday has been over the top. And yet that's the power of the NFL -- having an ability to do over-the-top like no one else.

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Carolina 10
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2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
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