Hartman: Cris Carter says Vikings still have shot at playoffs

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2012 - 11:05 PM

 The former star wide receiver sees a lot to like on his old team, despite its recent struggles after a hot start.

hide

Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Cris Carter, the former Vikings star who is now an analyst with ESPN, was in the Twin Cities on Thursday doing interviews for the network. It might surprise some people that Carter said he believes coach Leslie Frazier's team can contend for a playoff spot, even though it has some weaknesses.

"They definitely can contend. They run the ball so effectively," said Carter, one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and a sure Hall of Famer sometime soon. "When you can eat up that much of the clock and then create some turnovers [you have a chance]."

Creating turnovers has been a problem for the Vikings of late as they have lost three of four following a 4-1 start. They haven't created any while turning it over five times themselves in the past two games, both losses.

"They're a young football team, and they started very, very fast and now they're facing adversity," Carter said. "As a young football team, you still have to find ways to win games.

"Christian Ponder hasn't played well the last several weeks. They need to get him back to the level that he played at the first four weeks of the season. But they're staying healthy. They have a young, talented roster.

"I believe that, especially with a tough schedule coming up, that they can become a playoff contender."

Carter sang the praises of running back Adrian Peterson and receiver Percy Harvin.

"It is remarkable what he is doing," Carter said of Peterson. "It is remarkable to see from that injury to come back and possibly be even better than he was before."

On Harvin, Carter said: "I love Harvin -- he just needs some help, and [the Vikings] need to get him signed up [long term], absolutely, for a young guy with the versatility and the variety he gives the offense."

Carter also mentioned the Vikings' lack of depth at receiver and added, "If you get another big receiver outside of him then you'll really be able to see more of his value to the football team."

Carter did point out the simple fact that you have to be able to get the ball down the field in the NFL if you are going to be a contender. And if Jerome Simpson got healthy, he might help Harvin in doing that, taking pressure off Harvin on the outside.

It's evident that the passing game needs to improve. The Vikings enter Week 10 30th in the league in passing yards per game at 188.6.

Still, Carter believes the team has the tools to be successful offensively.

"It's partially, they have some younger guys, but they have some veteran guys that have been other places; they just have to be as productive as they've been other places. If they get that veteran productivity, then I believe Christian Ponder's numbers will go up."

On defense, Carter said it is just a matter of making plays the team hasn't been making.

"On third down they have to get off the field, and also in the red zone they have to get off the field and hold the other team to three points," he said. "When you have a young quarterback you have to generate turnovers, you have to give the offense those extra possessions."

Getting back to the wide receivers, the Vikings don't come even close to having the receivers they had in Carter's days, when not only did they have him but also Randy Moss and Jake Reed. The receivers they have today outside of Harvin aren't nearly as talented. Sure, Ponder has had problems, but if he had some better wide receivers to throw to, the team might have won a couple more games.

Edge on Illinois

Since 1996, the Gophers football team is 9-3 against Illinois, far and away their best record against any Big Ten opponent over that time. The Gophers' only other winning record over a conference foe in that period is a 6-4 mark against Indiana.

The Gophers are 34-28-3 all-time against the Illini. They should have a good chance this weekend.

The Illinois offense has struggled mightily this year, averaging only 4.4 yards per play, third worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision. As coach Tim Beckman told the Daily Illini this week, giving up sacks is a big part of the problem.

"I haven't been around offenses that give up so many sacks," Beckman said. "It's very important to me to keep these guys healthy. And how do you do that? You protect them, so they're not taking hits."

So look for the Gophers defense, which has 19 sacks, to pressure Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase all day.

Jottings

• According to Lester Bagley of the Vikings, the NFL is giving serious thought to playing two games in London annually, not just next year. So as reported here Thursday, don't be surprised if the Vikings play more than one game overseas in the coming years.

• Dave Mona, longtime chairman of the board of the Vikings Children Fund, reports that the fund contributed $10 million this year to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital.

• The Vikings are in the middle of three consecutive games facing an opponent with a former Vikings coach as its offensive coordinator. Last week at Seattle it was Darrell Bevell, Vikings offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2010. This week it is Detroit's Scott Linehan, who held that role with the Vikings from 2002 to '04. And after the bye it will be Chicago's Mike Tice, the former Vikings coach, assistant coach and tight end.

• Tom Mee, the longtime popular Twins director of public relations, is walking again after recent surgery at Mayo Clinic.

• Former Gophers standout Eric Decker not surprisingly has become one of Peyton Manning's top receivers with the Denver Broncos. Sunday against Cincinnati, Decker caught eight passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. He leads Denver in receptions with 46 and touchdowns with seven and is second in receiving yards with 583.

• Timberwolves Vice President Chris Wright reports that the club has sold more than 2,000 new full season tickets per game. And with the addition of all their partial season tickets sold, the Wolves are now are up to the equivalent of 10,000 full season tickets, the highest number they have sold since the 2003-04 season.

• Former Hopkins High School standout Royce White has yet to appear in a game for the Houston Rockets, who are 2-2. White missed a game because of migraine headaches, but coach Kevin McHale has also made the decision to not play White in the other games. One guy who is playing some for Houston is former Bloomington Jefferson center Cole Aldrich, who came over in the James Harden deal from Oklahoma City.

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

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
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
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 6
Toronto 0 FINAL
Detroit 3
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Florida 4 FINAL
Dallas 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arizona 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
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
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close