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.


Vikings continue to come up short with the long ball

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: December 12, 2012 - 1:17 PM

In an offensive performance Sunday that resembled a UFC ground-and-pound attack far more than a Cirque du Soleil aerial show, the Vikings had at least two opportunities to stretch the field deep against Chicago. Both times, they failed to capitalize.

The first came with 6:39 left in the second quarter when Christian Ponder used play action and uncorked a long ball to Devin Aromashodu on a post.

Ponder, who had slipped away from Lance Briggs on a blitz, threw a pretty ball. Yet just a split second before the pass arrived, Aromashodu seemed to stumble. The ball hit him in the right shoulder and bounced away.

Instead of a 45-yard touchdown that would have given the Vikings a 21-0 lead, the play went into the box score as an incompletion.

With a slumping young quarterback and the NFL’s least productive passing attack, that is exactly the kind of missed opportunity that drives Leslie Frazier crazy.

“That would have been a huge play for us on offense,” Frazier said. “It would have really changed the complexion of the game in a lot of ways. We didn’t connect.”

Frazier is anticipating similar opportunities to be available this weekend in St. Louis with the Rams likely to install the only defensive philosophy that makes sense against the Vikings, marching safeties close to the line of scrimmage for run help and using their corners in press coverage outside.

“And we’re going to need to hit some of those shots,” Frazier said. “We need to complete and make a catch down the field to get people to loosen up. The challenge will be there again this week.”

The wrong Wright

Ponder was to blame for the Vikings’ second failed bomb attempt in Chicago. That one, on the final series before halftime, was picked off by Bears safety Major Wright. Ponder had spotted an ideal match-up with speedy rookie Jarius Wright flying down the middle of the field with linebacker Nick Roach in his wake. But Ponder didn’t step into the throw, let it about 8-10 yards short and Major Wright easily slid over for the pick.

“I kind of threw off my back foot,” Ponder said. “It wasn’t a mistake to throw the ball. The decision was fine. I just have to throw the ball farther and let him run out and get it.”

Jarius Wright, Ponder admits, is much like Percy Harvin in that his speed makes him almost impossible to overthrow.

“I’ve got to trust that fact and just let the ball go,” Ponder said.

More honors for A.P.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after gashing Chicago for 154 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Peterson amassed 104 of those yards and both scores in the first quarter. He’s now up to 1,600 rushing yards for the season with 10 touchdowns and a per-carry average of 6.0 yards.

The next big step

Ponder talked briefly Wednesday about his need for greater pocket presence, a big part of his struggles the past month-and-a-half.

Too often the second-year quarterback has either vacated the pocket early or just generally appeared jittery as he tries to go through his reads.

Ponder acknowledges his need for greater patience.

“And when I do move in the pocket, not to move out but to find ways to find a different lane in the pocket to throw to and different things like that,” he said. “But staying in the cylinder rather than getting out of the pocket.”

Jefferson still not cleared

Cornerback A.J. Jefferson will miss this afternoon’s practice as he continues to go through testing for the concussion he suffered late in Sunday’s win. If Jefferson isn’t cleared to play this week, Josh Robinson would likely start alongside Antoine Winfield at cornerback with Marcus Sherels slotted to be the third corner in nickel packages.


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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 16 3rd Qtr 4:35
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 59 2nd Half 5:32
Georgia Tech 49
Stephen F Austin 44 2nd Half 12:36
Prairie View 37
UAB 22 2nd Half
Florida 27
Rice 28 2nd Half
Mercer 33
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 20 4th Qtr 6:42
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 27 4th Qtr 12:15
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 2nd Half 0:10
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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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 Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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