Three-and-out: Bears at Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2012 - 9:47 PM
What a week Christian Ponder is having. News broke late Monday that the Vikings quarterback had popped the question to his girlfriend, ESPN reporter Samantha Steele. It's now confirmed: Steele is officially Ponder's fiancée. Then on Tuesday, Ponder made a cameo at Oltman Middle School in St. Paul as the show-and-tell guest of sixth-grader Cala Boesel. That came less than 48 hours after Ponder delivered a woeful effort in the Vikings' 23-14 loss in Green Bay -- which had to make Boesel's presentation a harder sell. But wait, there's more. As the Vikings prepare to host Chicago, here's a trio of other things you should know.

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.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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 NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close