Sid Hartman: Ponder learns to put turnovers behind him

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 21, 2012 - 7:07 AM

The Vikings quarterback isn't going to dwell on his past mistakes for too long.


Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder fumbled the ball in the second quarter against Washington last week. Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander recovered, setting up a touchdown.

Photo: Mckenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has turned the ball over four times the past two weeks after not doing it in the first four weeks of the season, and the offense has had a hard time putting the ball in the end zone. But the 2011 first-round draft choice isn't going to let negative thoughts affect how he plays Sunday against Arizona, or how he plays the rest of the season.

"It's frustrating. In the first quarter, we were down three times and kicked three field goals and got nine points. In the NFL that's going to probably come back and bite you, and it did," Ponder said of last week's loss at Washington. "We'd like to have 17 or 21 points and we didn't. There are things, we always have something to get better at, and right now we have to get better at the red zone.

"I take it week-to-week, play-to-play. Obviously when you throw an interception or a pick-six I'm frustrated for a moment, definitely," said Ponder, who threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by former Vikings safety Madieu Williams last week. "The big thing is I have so many teammates that pick me up immediately, and Adrian Peterson is a guy who always stands out.

"We've been in the red zone, I think coach was telling us 22 times. We're one of five teams that's been in there 20-plus times, so you know we're moving the ball as an offense, we just need to score touchdowns."

On his mindset, Ponder said: "I think I've done a better job this year of forgetting about [bad plays] and moving on and staying positive. The same thing goes for the rest of the week. I'm frustrated Monday watching the film but [by Wednesday] I've forgotten about it and moved onto the next game.

"I think I do a good job of being critical of myself but not being too negative on myself and learning from it and moving on and making myself better because of those mistakes."

Even though the Vikings kicked four field goals and failed to score touchdowns in the red zone against the Redskins, Ponder doesn't believe the overall scheme of the offense will change.

"We're not changing anything, we just need to be better in our execution," he said. "I need to do a better job of finding the open guy and not forcing things and if things aren't there I need to do a better job of creating a scramble drill. Because especially in the end zone when you create a scramble drill I think the guys have more time to get open. We're just going back to execution and we're not going to change anything really."

Asked why a team can march 80 yards and then get inside the 20-yard line and have a problem scoring, Ponder had this explanation:

"It's so little space. It's a lot tighter, the throws are tighter, the coverage is a lot better, there's less room to operate our offense. The defense definitely has an advantage when they're down in the red zone."

What is the scouting report on Arizona?

"They have has an exceptional defense, very good, very different schematically and bring different pressures and very good in coverage and getting to the quarterback. That's going to be a tough challenge for us," Ponder said.

Gophers defense fails in second half

Unless the Gophers can find away to play two good halves of defense, this football team isn't going to win another game this season. The pattern has been the same in all three Big Ten losses.

Against Iowa and Northwestern, the Gophers actually had an opportunity to win both games, as the defense shut down their opponent's offense in the second half of each game.

Against the Badgers, the score was 14-6 at halftime, with the Gophers doing a good job of at least holding down the home team's running game. They also could have made it closer had they made the 51-yard field goal at the end of the half.

In the first half, the Gophers had 155 net yards to the Badgers' 199 and a time of possession of 14 minutes, 24 seconds to Wisconsin's 15:36.

But the second half was all in the Badgers' favor. A.J. Barker's touchdown reception near the end of the third quarter pulled the Gophers within 24-13, but an onside kick failed and the Badgers went 60 yards in 11 plays to extend their lead to 31-13, then took advantage of Philip Nelson's second interception by going 44 yards in three plays, and then it was 38-13 and the game was all but over.

The Badgers rushed for 337 yards, including 230 in the second half, against a Gophers defense that had its worst day of the season. And in the second half the Badgers had the ball 19:20 compared to only 9:46 for the visitors.

No trees in center field

The word from Twins President Dave St. Peter: "Some trees might be installed in Target Field before the 2013 season, but they won't be in the batting eye like they were before, because while everybody likes trees, they're beautiful, we do think that they have a disruptive result in terms of the playability of the facility -- and that's not just from our players, it's from umpires and other players."

The Twins are expecting to sell 20,000 season tickets in 2013 compared to 23,000 in 2012. Twins officials were in Fort Myers, Fla., this past week to among other things finalize the renovations of the Lee County Sports Complex, but nothing is official yet.

"I think we made good progress, and we're hopeful that the county board will take action on November 6th, in terms of approving a renovation," St. Peter said.


• University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler doesn’t want to hear any talk about tearing down Williams Arena and building a new Gophers basketball arena. Kaler is in favor of remodeling Williams, similar to the remodeling job of Northrop Auditorium.

• With this being the last year of a three-year lease between the Vikings and Minnesota State Mankato for training camp, Vikings representatives were in Mankato on Friday working on a new three-year lease with the team to stay in the newer, modern Julia Sears Residence Hall. The Vikings spend close to $1 million over the course of their time in Mankato for camp.

• The Vikings won’t lose any extra money when it comes to gate receipts and other income when they play the Steelers in London next year. Instead, the NFL will give the Vikings the amount of an average home gate at the Metrodome.

• Former Twins outfielder Delmon Young has been excellent this postseason, hitting .294 with a .351 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage for the Tigers. He hit a career-low .267 this season.

• Former Vikings receiver Sidney Rice is really starting to perform for the Seahawks after an injury-plagued 2011, as he needed shoulder surgery over the offseason. He has 22 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns through seven games, after catching 32 passes for 484 yards and two TDs in all of 2011. Rice also caught the big 46-yard score to beat the Patriots last Sunday.

• The New York Times ran a lengthy profile of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe this weekend. The article focused on Kluwe’s advocacy of gay marriage rights and his unique and supportive family upbringing. The article ended by calling Kluwe “the most interesting man in the NFL.”

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Denver 7:30 PM
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
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San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Denver 6:00 PM
Portland 7:00 PM
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Toronto 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
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Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
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Arizona 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 64 FINAL
Bradley 54
Brown 67 FINAL
Central Conn St 55
Stetson 59 FINAL
Florida State 63
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
Northwestern 63
Ohio 49 FINAL
George Washington 77
Southern Utah 61 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 70
Elon 67 FINAL
Kennesaw St 65
Dartmouth 49 FINAL
Penn State 69
Green Bay 70 FINAL
UC Irvine 72
DePaul 58 2nd Half 3:51
Colorado 76
Lewis & Clark 39 2nd Half 6:04
Portland 67
SC State 30 2nd Half
Abilene Christian 23
Manhattan 22 1st Half 5:56
Fordham 21
Truett-McConnell 16 1st Half 7:10
Ga Southern 27
Citadel 22 1st Half 6:49
Michigan State 23
Miami-Ohio 14 1st Half 5:43
Ohio State 34
Gardner-Webb 22 1st Half 7:17
Purdue 29
Idaho 18 1st Half 7:57
Northern Ky 20
Fairfield 6:00 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
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East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
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Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
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Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
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West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
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Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
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NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
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McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Furman 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
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Texas Tech
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Penn 7:00 PM
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Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
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Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
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Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
North Dakota 8:00 PM
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New Mexico St
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Texas-El Paso
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Northern Colorado
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Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
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UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
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Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
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Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
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Western Ky
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Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
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Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 54 FINAL
Ohio State 96
MD-Eastern Shore 78
Cornell 79 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 61
St Bonaventure 70 FINAL
Georgetown 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Northeastern 62
Eastern Washington 67 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 63 FINAL
Texas Southern 69
Butler 72 FINAL
Illinois State 60
UC Davis 53 2nd Half 3:15
(16) Stanford 65
Washington St 73 2nd Half 5:49
Loyola Marymount 46
Sacramento St 65 2nd Half 11:21
San Jose St 68
SIU-Edwardsville 34 2nd Half
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(14) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:05 PM
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Hampton 7:00 PM
Florida State 7:00 PM
Murray State 7:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
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2014 preseason     
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