1. The Vikings are not eager to see Brandon Marshall again.
As consternation infects the Twin Cities regarding the Vikings' quarterback struggles and their lack of playmaking receivers, the Bears boast one of the most potent passing tandems in the NFL. Jay Cutler has thrown Marshall's way 125 times this season -- that's 40 percent of his pass attempts -- and completed 83 for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns.
Best of all for Chicago, Marshall is often tightly covered, yet his strong hands and body positioning allow Cutler to be bold with his throws.
The Vikings saw that two weeks ago when many of Marshall's 12 catches came amid blanket coverage.
"It can be frustrating when you've got guys draped over him like we did," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "But we just couldn't figure out a way to get the ball out, knowing they were going to force it into his hands."
Added cornerback A.J. Jefferson: "He's such a big-bodied guy. I never felt threatened by his speed. He's not going to outrun me. But he has an ability to box people out and get in front of you, like a basketball-type guy. I had my hand on a few of his catches. Unfortunately, my one against his two is rarely going to win."
With 91 total catches, Marshall is well aware he's just 10 short of breaking Marty Booker's single-season franchise record. That's the way he's wired, always conscious of how his production measures up.
In Week 12 against the Vikings, Marshall surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth consecutive season and made sure to remind Cutler of that feat during the game.
"You're disgusting," Cutler responded with a laugh.
2. The Vikings still believe Ponder is a clear-cut winner over Joe Webb in the quarterback pecking order.
Asked about the ongoing assessment of Webb and what his biggest weaknesses were, Frazier skillfully packaged his response, expressing confidence in Webb as a backup without detailing his flaws.
Certainly, Webb's inaccuracy as a passer is a concern. There's also a belief that his potency diminishes when defenses have time to prepare for him.
Plus, Ponder won the job outright.
"He did a good job in the OTAs," Frazier said, "and the things he did in training camp let us know he was the guy that needed to be the starting quarterback. Nothing against what Joe's done."
As for whether Frazier has full authority to choose his quarterback, that's a slightly trickier topic. It's clear General Manager Rick Spielman believed Ponder deserved a comprehensive evaluation this season -- through good times and bad. It's a philosophy Frazier accepted and agreed with.
But certainly the organization's dedication to Ponder also makes it a tad more complicated to pull the plug -- even if it's only for a few possessions.
Still, Frazier has asserted he's the guy with that say.
"Similar to what I had to do a year ago in Detroit [in replacing Ponder with Webb]," Frazier said. "I can make those changes during the course of a game without having to get that red phone and get a call to New York."
3. Several Vikings might want to start formulating itineraries for Honolulu.
With an NFL-best 1,446 rushing yards, it's safe to ink Adrian Peterson into the Pro Bowl.
As of Wednesday, three other Vikings were also the leading NFC vote-getters at their respective positions: Jared Allen at defensive end, Matt Kalil at offensive tackle and Percy Harvin as a kick returner.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield is probably the next most likely Viking to get an invite.
Pro Bowl voting will end Monday night. Rosters will be announced Dec. 26.
|Denver||28||3rd Qtr 0:55|
|Buffalo||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Carolina||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Dallas||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|San Diego||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Jets||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|New Orleans||12/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Arizona||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|St. Louis||12/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/28/14 7:30 PM|
|Atlanta||100||4th Qtr 1:08|
|LA Clippers||118||4th Qtr 0:20|
|Sacramento||14||1st Qtr 5:00|
|San Jose||0||2nd Prd|
|Calgary||0||1st Prd 10:27|
|Central Conn St||55|
|Lewis & Clark||49||FINAL|
|North Dakota St||61||FINAL|
|Mount St Marys||69|
|William & Mary||62||FINAL|
|East Tenn St||60||FINAL|
|Long Beach State||49||FINAL|
|SE Missouri St||51||FINAL|
|Jacksonville St||65||1st OT 0:20|
|Milwaukee||47||2nd Half 7:08|
|Wisconsin||66||2nd Half 1:21|
|Coll of Charleston||47||FINAL|
|Northern New Mexico||39||FINAL|
|New Mexico St||78|
|UC Santa Barbara||69||2nd Half 1:20|
|Miami-Florida||51||2nd Half 7:30|
|Northeastern||68||1st OT 2:21|
|Kent State||52||2nd Half 9:31|
|UC Davis||68||2nd Half 0:46|
|TX A&M-CC||32||2nd Half|
|Cal State Fullerton||36|
|Boise State||14||1st Half 11:59|
|UC Riverside||10:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Loyola Marymount||10:00 PM|
|Nebraska||12/23/14 12:00 AM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|Illinois||12/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Rutgers||12/26/14 3:30 PM|
|NC State||12/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/27/14 12:00 PM|
|Duke||12/27/14 1:10 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Miami-Florida||12/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Boston College||12/27/14 3:30 PM|
|(25) Nebraska||12/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|(21) West Virginia||54||FINAL|
|San Jose St||97|
|Fla Gulf Coast||74||FINAL|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm||X||10-6|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm||X||30-28|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm||X||30-12|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm||X||19-3|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon||X||34-6|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon||X||30-7|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon||X||20-9|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm||X||41-28|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm||X||42-10|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||17-3|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon||X||17-16|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon||X||19-13 ot|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon||X||29-26|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon||X||21-13|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon||X||24-21|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||31-13|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon||X||30-24 ot|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||3:25 pm||X||16-14|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon||X||37-35|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon|