Week 10 three-and-out

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2012 - 5:56 PM
Just about everything is going wrong for the Vikings right now. They've allowed 480 rushing yards the past three weeks while netting only 316 passing yards themselves. Quarterback Christian Ponder is suddenly the target of escalating fan outrage. And now, with a two-game losing skid, the Vikings head into the teeth of their schedule with four consecutive NFC North games. But wait, there's more. Here's a trio of other things you should know:

1. Ponder needs a bounce-back performance in the worst way this weekend against Detroit.

In recent weeks, the second-year quarterback has taken to posting Bible verses on Twitter as inspiration. Wednesday morning's tweet: "Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'"

Self-belief will be a big, big deal for Ponder on Sunday. The tension promises to be high with an agitated home crowd growing impatient with Ponder's growing pains and certain to give the young quarterback plenty to overhear.

Ponder realizes last weekend's 63-yard passing effort in Seattle was unacceptable. But when asked Wednesday to explain those woes, he also couldn't identify the particulars of what's going haywire.

"I don't know if there are any specific things that jump out at me," he said. "It just goes back to execution. And my execution has to pick up."

Ponder is clearly growing tired of all the outside speculation about his confidence, his banged-up right knee and his long-term potential. But there's only one way to wall off such criticism -- by playing well and winning.

2. Shaky quarterback play isn't the only reason for the recent passing struggles.

That's been Leslie Frazier's message, with the Vikings coach making a plea for better protection and sharper receiver play. On top of that, Frazier has made it clear the coaching staff and coordinator Bill Musgrave need to do their part helping the offense evolve so the Vikings don't become over-reliant on concepts that worked early in the season but have now become easier to sniff out.

Frazier hinted that adjustments need to be made to the Vikings' routes to better free receivers against the coverages they're seeing so often.

"You see things on tape where you know [defenses] are getting a good feel for our rhythm and how we do things," Frazier said. "And we've got to make a few adjustments."

The challenge will be made even more difficult if Percy Harvin's sprained left ankle doesn't heal enough for him to play. Without the NFL's receptions leader, Ponder will need other options, including tight end Kyle Rudolph, who has only two catches in the past three games.

The Vikings have tried but failed to loosen up defenses by connecting on deep passes outside. Now comes a call for Rudolph to step up.

"We've got to do some things between the numbers and near the hashes," Frazier said.

3. The Vikings aren't the only ones with their star receiver beat up.

Like Harvin, Detroit's Calvin Johnson also missed practice Wednesday and might not participate all week because of a sore left knee. He didn't practice at all last week, yet he returned to deliver seven catches for 129 yards in Sunday's victory over Jacksonville.

Johnson has had a peculiar season. He dealt with a finger injury during training camp and entered the regular season with a minor foot issue. He later suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the Vikings and is now battling that tender knee.

Johnson's stated goal of reaching 2,000 receiving yards might be slipping. But midway through the season, he still has 48 catches for 767 yards -- even as defenses build entire game plans around stopping him.

But now quarterback Matthew Stafford and Detroit's offense are also turning to a handful of younger players -- most notably running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell and receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles -- to become more dynamic.

Said coach Jim Schwartz: "I don't know that we're trying to take the attention away from [Calvin]. We're just trying to score. Whether it's rushing touchdowns, whether it's throwing to somebody else, whether it's throwing to him, we're trying to be efficient, move the ball and score."

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San Francisco 8 Top 9th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 3rd Prd 13:11
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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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 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
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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