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

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
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
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
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 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 NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close