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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Philadelphia 72
Orlando 73 4th Qtr 9:57
Charlotte 83
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Atlanta 53
Milwaukee 45 3rd Qtr
Toronto 71
Boston 35 2nd Qtr 2:53
Memphis 45
Cleveland 34 2nd Qtr 4:32
Washington 43
Brooklyn 38 2nd Qtr 4:21
Oklahoma City 47
San Antonio 49 2nd Qtr 4:40
Minnesota 37
LA Lakers 19 1st Qtr 3:56
Dallas 25
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Denver
Chicago 9:30 PM
Portland
Utah 9:30 PM
Golden State
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Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 4 3rd Prd 18:38
Pittsburgh 3
Boston 0 3rd Prd 19:14
Columbus 2
New Jersey 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Texas A&M 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 50
USC 72 FINAL
Drexel 70
Clemson 70 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Dayton 64 FINAL
Connecticut 75
Akron 51 FINAL
Miami-Florida 79
Seton Hall 68 FINAL
Nevada 60
Valparaiso 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 46
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Longwood 81
Syracuse 66 FINAL
Iowa 63
Central Conn St 49 FINAL
Towson 58
Boston College 66 FINAL
West Virginia 70
Ill-Chicago 58 FINAL
Yale 70
Alcorn State 69 FINAL
Hampton 82
LSU 61 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
Prairie View 41 2nd Half 2:47
Baylor 57
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 48 FINAL
Central Mich 76
Youngstown St 52 2nd Half 8:50
Eastern Mich 53
Wofford 54 FINAL
Fairfield 36
Troy 60 2nd Half 0:22
Georgia 82
IUPU-Ft Wayne 58 2nd Half 3:53
Georgia Tech 68
Stony Brook 63 2nd Half 1:09
Hofstra 62
Boston Univ 57 2nd Half 7:21
Kentucky 71
Loyola-Chicago 50 2nd Half 1:41
Michigan State 85
Toledo 63 2nd Half 1:01
Oregon 75
Lehigh 66 2nd Half 1:06
Rider 73
Charlotte 58 2nd Half 3:25
South Carolina 59
UNLV 51 2nd Half 5:10
Stanford 81
George Washington 42 FINAL
Virginia 59
Hiwassee 53 FINAL
Western Carolina 72
Texas 41 2nd Half 15:26
California 29
Florida Memorial 32 2nd Half 13:20
FIU 48
Southern Ill 39 2nd Half 13:44
Kent State 52
Bethune-Cookman 31 2nd Half 9:41
Monmouth 53
New Mexico 30 2nd Half 18:47
George Mason 24
Delaware State 30 2nd Half
Arkansas 44
ULM 29 2nd Half
Florida 27
Austin Peay 25 2nd Half
Illinois 46
Morehead State 25 2nd Half
Louisiana Tech 33
Jarvis Christian 34 2nd Half
McNeese State 40
Milwaukee 27 2nd Half
Oklahoma State 44
Stephen F Austin 32 1st Half 0:05
Xavier 39
Kennesaw St 19 1st Half 0:27
North Dakota St 38
North Dakota 44 2nd Half
South Dakota St 29
Iona 16 1st Half 13:11
Wake Forest 18
Louisiana 8:00 PM
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Cal Poly
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Long Beach State
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Hawaii
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 0 2nd Qtr 11:59
Rice 0
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NC A&T 57
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Indiana 97
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Kansas 75
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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 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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