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.


Musgrave trying to 'tighten up' Ponder's footwork, balance

Posted by: Mark Craig under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson Updated: December 13, 2012 - 2:41 PM

Christian Ponder's footwork needs work. But that's not unusual  for a quarterback at the game's highest level, Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said today.

"I think it's a continuous process," Musgrave said. "I think most quarterbacks work on it on a daily basis. It's part of the fundamentals of the position."

Asked about Ponder's well-criticized happy feet footwork, Musgrave said, "That's one of the areas that we need to tighten up is footwork in the pocket and staying on balance so that we can remain accurate.

"That's a continuing, evolving process with a lot of QBs, and Christian is one of those that keeps working at it and needs to be more refined."

More `Cover 2' to stop Peterson

The Cover 2 scheme with two deep safeties is a defense that's typically employed to take away long gains in the passing game. Musgrave said he's seen more Cover 2 used against the Vikings of late because teams are trying to take away long runs by Adrian Peterson.

That's virtually unheard of for a running back. Typically, teams crowd the line of scrimmage with eight and nine defenders.

That's been a consistent look the Vikings have seen, too. But it could be changing because once Peterson breaks through the front wall, there's nobody deep to bring him down. That's part of the reason he has a league-high 18 carries of 20 yards or more, including a career-long 82-yard touchdown.

"[Defenses will] have two safeties [deep] to cap [Peterson's] runs possibly in the teens rather than giving the 50, 60, 70, 80 yarders," Musgrave said. "It's just a defensive philosophy. You can minimize the damage back there if you have two back there instead of having everyone on the line of scrimmage."

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