Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Ponder, Wright connect; Vikings lead 13-3 at half

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Lions, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Kevin Williams, Percy Harvin Updated: November 11, 2012 - 1:23 PM

Players and coaches teased rookie Jarius Wright all week about whether he'd be ready for his NFL debut after sittiing idle as a game-day inactive for the first nine games of his NFL career.

Wright, who was active only because veteran Percy Harvin is out with a badly sprained left ankle, answered them on his second regular-season snap as a professional, beating a weak zone defense for a 54-yard reception to the Lions' 1-yard line. Two plays later, Wright was uncovered when he caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first quarter.

Ponder, who entered the game in a four-game funk that was problem No. 1 of many in the team's 1-3 slump, completed his first six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown en route to leading the Vikings to a 13-3 halftime lead at Mall of America Field.

Wright, a fourth-round draft pick, had three catches for 65 yards.Ponder has completed 13 of 18 passes for 102 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. He completed passes to eight receivers, including himself. He caught a batted ball and was tackled for a 15-yard loss. 

Meanwhile, the defense entered the game having not forced a turnover in nine quarters. But linebacker Chad Greenway's interception in tight coverage on tight end Brandon Pettigrew in Lions territory set up a 48-yard Blair Walsh field goal with 5:41 left in the first quarter. 

Jason Hanson made it a 10-3 game with a 41-yard field goal with 11:07 left in the half. Kevin Williams stopped that drive with an 11-yard sack on third-and-five. But the key snap for the Vikings came the play before when cornerback Antoine Winfield knifed in off the left side of the offense to tackle running back Mikel Leshoure for a 2-yard loss on second-and-three.

The Vikings stretched the lead back to 10 points, 13-3, on a 23-yard field goal by Walsh with 4:41 left in the half. On the drive, Ponder showed no signs of the knee injury that's been dogging him. He followed a 15-yard run by Adrian Peterson with a 20-yard scramble into Lions territory.

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Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
LA Angels - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Texas 7
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 2
Toronto 7 FINAL
Houston 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Masterson 14
Boston 116 FINAL
Charlotte 104
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
Philadelphia 111
Houston 96 FINAL
Toronto 99
Milwaukee 88 FINAL
Atlanta 101
Sacramento 83 FINAL
Memphis 97
Utah 104 FINAL
Minnesota 84
Phoenix 86 FINAL
Portland 109
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Calgary 5 FINAL
Dallas 3
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Chicago 4
Edmonton 4 FINAL
Colorado 1
Buffalo 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
ULM 58 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 65
Dayton 70 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 91
(6) Tennessee 48 FINAL
(4) Maryland 58
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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 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 NoonX13-9

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