Game plan's success renders Ponder moot

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2012 - 12:09 AM

All that concern about the quarterback became no issue when the Vikings were able to win by their preferred method, running the ball.


Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder threw only 17 times, with 11 completions for 91 yards, in Sunday’s game.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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In the critical game that could have defined his season and established the arc that his young career will follow, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was ...

A nonfactor.

The Vikings had a 14-0 lead before Ponder's second completion. Adrian Peterson had 104 yards rushing before Ponder's third completion.

And the Vikings dismissed the Bears 21-14 at Mall of America Field while Ponder posted a 53.8 passer rating and threw for fewer than 100 yards (91) for the third time in his past seven games.

"We won the way we're designed to win," coach Leslie Frazier said. "We talk all the time to our team about what Viking ball is, and today was a perfect example of it.

"Run the football effectively, play great defense against the run, come up with turnovers and play outstanding special teams."

The Vikings ran the ball 38 times for 171 yards (4.5) and were plus-1 in turnover margin. That enabled Ponder to get by with throwing only 17 times with 11 completions.

His one interception ruined the Vikings' chance of a field goal right before the half, but it also left the Bears with only 32 seconds and the ball at their 20.

"We're probably not going to win a lot of games when we throw the football 40 times," Frazier said. "That's not who we are. That's not the way we're built right now."

The Vikings scored three touchdowns. One came via the defense. Another was a 5-yard scoring drive on which Peterson ran on all three plays.

The other touchdown drive was a six-play, 80-yarder that opened the game. Peterson ran the ball five times for 69 yards, while the other play was an 11-yard completion to Michael Jenkins on third-and-9 from the Chicago 28.

Ponder and Jenkins also connected on fourth-quarter passes that went for 8 yards on third-and-7 from the Vikings 4-yard line and 10 yards on third-and-6 from the Vikings 46. The Vikings still punted, but they chewed up nearly five minutes of game clock and moved the ball from near their goal line to midfield.

"That was big for us," Ponder said.

Ponder obviously knows he has to play better. Especially as the Vikings now take their 1-5 road record to St. Louis and Houston for back-to-back games.

"We have such a great atmosphere here, and our fans do such a great job," Ponder said. "As an offense that plays on the road, it's tough when it's loud."

The Vikings also know their passing game isn't going to magically improve, especially with Percy Harvin now on injured reserve.

So they march on, not with throwback jerseys but with a throwback offensive mentality.

"Our players buying into the importance of running the football and running it effectively is probably the secret to our success," Frazier said. "They have to buy into that philosophy because it's not across the board in our league."

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 69 4th Qtr 9:51
Utah 78
Denver 51 2nd Qtr 0:42
Portland 53
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 2 3rd Prd 12:56
Colorado 5
Dallas 1 2nd Prd
Vancouver 1
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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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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