With the Vikings in the middle of a playoff push, quarterback Christian Ponder found a unique way to use his "Victory Monday." Ponder rolled into Hudson, Wis., popped in at the courthouse and married ESPN reporter Samantha Steele. It was an oddly timed union that has sparked plenty of gossip. Ponder insisted Wednesday that his marriage would not affect his usual preparation. He also said "a lot of personal reasons went into" the strange timing of things. And now that we've got that covered, here are a trio of other things you should know:
1. In an already splendid season, Chad Greenway might have had his most active game yet in St. Louis.
According to NFL stats, Greenway leads the league in tackles with 140. That means he might be on his way to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season.
In Sunday's victory over the Rams, Greenway seemed to play with Red Bull in his veins, darting around to record a game-high 14 tackles, including a stop for loss in the second quarter and an 8-yard sack of Sam Bradford in the third.
Oh, he also recovered a fumble.
On the sack, Greenway blitzed, blew up Rams back Daryl Richardson, then quickly engulfed Bradford.
"He was just all over the place," coach Leslie Frazier said.
Greenway's presence has been huge for the defense this season. Frazier points to Greenway's elevated leadership as another symbol of this team's growth.
"He's much more vocal now than in the past," Frazier said. "In the past, he let other people take the lead when it came to encouraging a guy or really chastising a guy for whatever it may be. And he's not reluctant to do that anymore."
2. As Greenway has made leadership strides, defensive lineman Everson Griffen has sparked his growth with a deeper investment in learning the game.
Griffen always has been an athletic freak. It's not often a 273-pound defensive lineman also can double as an impact gunner on punt coverage. And Griffen's rare quickness and agility were on display again Sunday when he dropped into coverage, anticipated Bradford's pass to Lance Kendricks and picked it off. The slick 29-yard return to the end zone was impressive, too.
"Looked smooth," Greenway said. "We talk all the time about how he's up and coming and now starting to make a name for himself in the NFL."
It's been a promising season for Griffen, who has shown heightened dedication to his craft while also continuing to fight through the grief attached to the unexpected October death of his mother.
Said Frazier: "The way he responded, even in the midst of that tragedy, you take your hat off to him with how courageous he is. And I've told him, I know his mother would be extremely proud of him and the way he's handled himself."
Frazier said Griffen has been "a pillar of strength" and was incredibly receptive throughout the offseason in listening to directives on how to study, practice and play like a pro.
"He's one of the guys that, as we speak, has really bought into the right way of doing things," Frazier said.
3. Texans' Andre Johnson continues to post big numbers.
Johnson needs one catch to become the 25th player in league history with 800 receptions. Last week, he became the 28th player to surpass 11,000 receiving yards.
In his 10th season, the 6-3, 230-pound receiver has 93 catches for 1,360 yards and four touchdowns, rebounding splendidly after a nagging hamstring injury cost him nine games in 2011. In addition, a groin strain limited Johnson through the early parts of this year.
Johnson's sustained success has come in big part because of his football savvy and the Texans' ability to move him around to create favorable matchups.
With Arian Foster (1,493 yards from scrimmage this season) presenting a threat out of the backfield, defenses must balance the urge to load the box versus keeping their concentration on Johnson.
Said Vikings safety Mistral Raymond: "You'd like get your hands on him. He's a big guy. But the thing about him is he embraces that kind of game. He's used to seeing it. He's seen it forever. So you have to be cautious in how you attack him."
|Atlanta||2||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Houston||1||Top 6th Inning|
|Washington||1||Bottom 7th Inning|
|NY Mets||0||Top 6th Inning|
|Pittsburgh||9||Top 5th Inning|
|Miami||6||Top 5th Inning|
|Boston||1||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Minnesota||2||Top 7th Inning|
|NY Yankees||4||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||2:05 PM|
|Los Angeles||2:05 PM|
|Kansas City||2:05 PM|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|St. Louis||2:00 PM|
|Mount St Marys||77||FINAL|
|Baylor||30||2nd Half 16:51|
|Vanderbilt||48||2nd Half 15:36|
|Boise State||23||2nd Half|
|Virginia Tech||22||2nd Half|
|Oklahoma State||32||2nd Half|
|Wake Forest||23||2nd Half|
|St Francis-PA||22||2nd Half 18:50|
|Eastern Mich||32||2nd Half|
|UMBC||8||1st Half 6:50|
|Bowling Green||14||1st Half 11:18|
|Siena||20||1st Half 9:15|
|Va Military||13||1st Half 11:29|
|Northeastern||13||1st Half 11:09|
|Western Carolina||20||1st Half 6:23|
|Western Ky||11||1st Half 10:32|
|Utah||15||1st Half 7:07|
|Missouri State||12||1st Half 8:22|
|San Diego||2:00 PM|
|South Carolina||3:00 PM|
|Oral Roberts||3:00 PM|
|Incarnate Word||3:00 PM|
|Colorado State||3:05 PM|
|Seton Hall||3:30 PM|
|George Washington||3:30 PM|
|Ball State||3:30 PM|
|Arizona State||3:30 PM|
|New Orleans||3:45 PM|
|Sam Houston St|
|Weber State||4:05 PM|
|Southern Ill||4:05 PM|
|Holy Cross||4:30 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||4:30 PM|
|Jackson State||5:00 PM|
|Ga Southern||5:00 PM|
|James Madison||5:00 PM|
|Saint Peters||5:30 PM|
|Texas Southern||5:30 PM|
|Grambling St||6:00 PM|
|Eastern Ky||6:00 PM|
|Wright State||6:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||6:00 PM|
|UC Riverside||6:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|Northern Colorado||6:00 PM|
|St Bonaventure||6:00 PM|
|UC Davis||6:30 PM|
|Central Arkansas||6:30 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|Grand Canyon||7:00 PM|
|Prairie View||7:30 PM|
|Miss Valley St||7:30 PM|
|Texas State||7:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|William & Mary|
|McNeese State||7:30 PM|
|North Carolina||8:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||8:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||9:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Idaho State||9:05 PM|
|Montana State||9:05 PM|
|New Mexico||9:05 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Cal State Fullerton||10:59 PM|
|Sporting Kansas City||2:00 PM|
|Red Bull New York||6:30 PM|
|New England||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|(5) South Carolina||58|
|(18) Oklahoma St||67|
|East Tenn St||50||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||74||FINAL|
|NJIT||68||2nd Half 0:10|
|Fordham||61||2nd Half 7:35|
|Western Mich||31||2nd Half 20:00|
|Cincinnati||17||1st Half 1:22|
|Incarnate Word||38||2nd Half 19:44|
|Oral Roberts||32||2nd Half 14:42|
|USC Upstate||49||2nd Half|
|Bowling Green||32||2nd Half|
|Central Michigan||39||2nd Half|
|Belmont||38||2nd Half 15:25|
|Cleveland State||39||2nd Half 18:56|
|Ohio U||5||1st Half 18:18|
|(15) Texas A&M||26||1st Half 7:47|
|New Orleans||5||1st Half 9:04|
|Sam Houston St||29|
|Kansas||9||1st Half 7:58|
|No Dakota State||2:00 PM|
|Southern Ill||2:00 PM|
|Indiana State||2:00 PM|
|Illinois State||2:05 PM|
|Ohio State||2:30 PM|
|Eastern Washington||3:00 PM|
|Portland State||3:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||3:00 PM|
|Sacramento St||3:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U||3:00 PM|
|TX-Pan American||3:00 PM|
|McNeese State||3:00 PM|
|Jackson State||3:00 PM|
|Prairie View||3:00 PM|
|Texas Southern||3:00 PM|
|Western Carolina||3:30 PM|
|(14) NC State||4:00 PM|
|(2) Notre Dame|
|Central Arkansas||4:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|SE Louisiana||4:00 PM|
|Cal Poly||4:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|(16) Nebraska||4:55 PM|
|(19) Michigan State|
|Miss Valley St||5:00 PM|
|Texas State||5:15 PM|
|Chicago State||6:00 PM|
|(7) West Virginia|
|(13) North Carolina||6:30 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Northern Colorado||8:30 PM|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|Washington St||10:30 PM|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm||X||27-13|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm||X||20-16|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm||X||34-14|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm||X||24-23|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon||X||34-24|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon||X||31-30|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon||X||31-27|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon||X||34-27|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||35-10|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm||X||23-7|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm||X||44-31|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon||X||27-23|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm||X||34-27|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm||X||41-20|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon||26-26|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||23-20|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon||X||29-26|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon||X||48-30|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon||X||42-14|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||14-13|
Poll: Which free-agent quarterback would you most like the Vikings to sign?