Hartman: Without Ponder, Vikings had no chance to win

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 9:16 AM
If you want an expert's opinion on the Vikings' 24-10 playoff loss to the Packers, former NFL MVP Rich Gannon said the Vikings would have certainly had a legitimate shot to win Saturday night had they had a healthy Christian Ponder.

But with Ponder sidelined by a bad elbow after not practicing most of the week and Adrian Peterson operating with a quarterback who hasn't played all season and lacking the passing ability to make Peterson's running game effective, the Vikings were eliminated from the NFL postseason.

At halftime, the Packers, behind Aaron Rodgers, had 197 passing yards, compared to the 6 net yards passing for the Vikings with Joe Webb at quarterback.

Gannon, the former Vikings and Raiders quarterback now in his eighth season working as an analyst for CBS, said a big reason for the loss is that when coaches spend time during the week trying to get two quarterbacks ready to play while not knowing which one will, it creates complications that mean neither one is ready to do well in the game.

"That poor kid Joe Webb goes in there, and the speed of the game is so different and you know you're flying around," Gannon said. "It's tough. He doesn't have the timing and the rhythm with the receivers and the passing game, the offense, it's tough. It's a tough way to do it. It's hard."

On how Webb handled himself, Gannon said: "I thought he handled himself OK. He didn't throw the ball well. He was all over the place with his footwork. He was missing throws high, I mean, you know you go up against a good defense like that, tight coverage, he was very erratic with his location on throws and his accuracy.

"But I thought he ran around and made some plays. It's about what I expected from him. He's very athletic. He's a better runner than he is a passer right now, and he's a very raw player right now. He just doesn't have the experience. He's certainly not a finished product. He has a lot of work to do in order to get ready and feel good about him as a backup."

Rodgers the best in the game

Gannon then brought up that Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is the best quarterback in the game now.

"His mastery of the offense, he has probably the strongest arm in the league, his accuracy, his athleticism, I mean the scheme, it's just perfect for him," Gannon said. "They've got probably the best four-or-five deep at wide receiver. All of those guys could start for about any other team in the league."

Yes, Rodgers did his job, but the Vikings actually held the Packers to three points less than their season average, so the defense wasn't too bad.

Ponder improved, was missed

Gannon said he thought Ponder improved throughout the season, especially in the final four weeks.

"Look at what happened to him late in the year," Gannon said. "He went through that adversity, and you and I have talked before, everybody was so hard on him, but he kind of hung in there at the end, and he probably played the best game of his career against the Packers last week.

"I think everybody felt like, in a game where you think the Packers would be favored and it would be tough for the Vikings to go on the road, but with Ponder, as well as he played last week, and with Peterson, you felt like they had a real chance. But without Ponder, I knew it was going to be difficult, real difficult. They just didn't get anything going offensively."

Gophers to enroll

The Gophers football program expects four recruits to enroll Jan. 21: linebacker Damien Wilson of Jones County (Miss.) Junior College; quarterback Chris Streveler of Marion Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill.; and defensive linemen Hank Ekpe of Lewisville, Texas, and Jordan Hinojosa of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

The Gophers have a recent commitment from the top high school punter in the country in Ryan Santoso of Pace, Fla. He is very large for a punter, standing 6-5 and weighing 270 pounds. Normally the Gophers don't give scholarships to punters, but Santoso will get a scholarship.

Speaking of the Gophers, Kevin Sumlin, a former Gophers assistant coach, closed out a terrific first season as coach at Texas A&M by winning the Cotton Bowl 35-17 over Kansas State on Thursday night. The Aggies defense -- which curtailed a high-powered Wildcats offense -- was orchestrated by defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, who was the defensive ends coach for the Gophers from 1997 to 2000.

 

SID’S JOTTINGS
 
• There are three national firms — Hunt out of Indianapolis, Skanska out of New York and Gilbane out of Chicago — plus local firm Mortensen that are bidding to get the construction rights for the Vikings stadium.
 
• Mike Grant was convinced he would accept the St. John’s job until he was offered it. He then gave it strong consideration but he turned it down because he realized what a good position he had at Eden Prairie and he was convinced that as coach and athletic director, he had the best of both worlds.
 
• The Bears are eyeing the best coaching candidate available in Marc Trestman, the coach of the Montreal Alouettes, as their successor to Lovie Smith, who certainly should never have been fired to begin with. Trestman, the St. Louis Park native who has been successful every place he has been, turned down a chance to interview for the Oakland Raiders job last year. He tutored great NFL quarterbacks such as Bernie Kosar, Steve Young and Rich Gannon. But the Alouettes have Trestman signed through 2016, and he might not be released from his contract.
 
• Billy Robertson, a former vice president with the Wild, is a candidate for a new executive public relations job with the Gophers athletic department.
 
• Gordy Shaw, the former Gophers offensive line coach under Glen Mason and one of the best recruiters who has ever worked at the university, is a finalist for the St. Olaf coaching job. If the Oles hire him, he would do one great job for them.
 
• It was impressive to see North Dakota State's football team win its second consecutive FCS title in dominating fashion Saturday with a 39-13 victory over Sam Houston State, which lost to the Bison last year, too. There are 33 Minnesotans on the North Dakota State roster.

 

  • related content

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder watches from the sideli...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 44 2nd Qtr 2:56
Orlando 35
Charlotte 60 2nd Qtr 4:51
Philadelphia 45
Brooklyn 18 1st Qtr 5:58
Cleveland 12
Washington 13 1st Qtr 5:34
Miami 15
Minnesota 13 1st Qtr 5:03
Boston 14
Toronto 14 1st Qtr 4:40
Detroit 21
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 0 2nd Prd
New Jersey 2
Anaheim 0 1st Prd 9:40
Ottawa 2
NY Islanders 0 1st Prd 9:41
Detroit 1
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 56 2nd Half 3:48
Radford 66
Stillman 19 1st Half 2:29
Alabama 31
Case Western Reserve 36 2nd Half
Bucknell 38
Niagara 26 1st Half 1:18
Buffalo 34
SD Christian 18 2nd Half
UC Santa Barbara 34
Concordia (MI) 28 2nd Half
Central Mich 51
Northern Ill 19 2nd Half
Dartmouth 33
North Florida 38 2nd Half
Florida A&M 21
Hiwassee 34 2nd Half
Gardner-Webb 52
Tennessee St 24 2nd Half
Hampton 29
NC A&T 25 2nd Half
Kent State 32
Central Penn College 35 2nd Half
Liberty 51
Eastern Ky 27 2nd Half
Miami-Florida 25
Northern Ky 49 2nd Half
Morehead State 27
Northern Ariz 20 2nd Half 19:44
Norfolk State 38
MD-Eastern Shore 26 2nd Half
Old Dominion 31
St Marys-CA 26 1st Half 1:41
St Johns 13
Clemson 30 2nd Half
South Carolina 28
Tenn Tech 32 2nd Half
Tennessee 26
Washington-MD 16 2nd Half
William & Mary 46
Bethune-Cookman 5 1st Half 11:21
Mercer 19
Furman 12 1st Half 11:49
Fla Gulf Coast 13
South Dakota St 18 1st Half 7:32
CS-Bakersfield 13
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 41 2nd Half 11:09
Texas Tech 54
Toledo 40 2nd Half 10:30
Nevada 39
UMass Lowell 34 2nd Half 8:45
(13) Duke 78
St Marys-CA 26 2nd Half
Virginia 26
McNeese State 21 2nd Half
Rice 19
McMurry 23 2nd Half
Houston Baptist 36
NJIT 24 2nd Half
Seton Hall 40
(6) North Carolina 24 1st Half 1:15
Maine 13
Lafayette 32 2nd Half
Stony Brook 32
Siena 22 2nd Half
Binghamton 21
Longwood 27 2nd Half
Clemson 34
Savannah State 29 1st Half 0:04
Florida State 45
(19) Syracuse 29 2nd Half
(9) Baylor 26
Buffalo 27 2nd Half
Manhattan 17
Canisius 17 2nd Half
Michigan 41
Davidson 37 2nd Half
NC State 39
Northern Ky 33 2nd Half
Delaware 26
Saint Louis 6 1st Half 16:17
Austin Peay 6
(25) DePaul 24 1st Half 11:50
(2) Connecticut 26
Ohio U 13 1st Half 8:00
La Salle 19
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara
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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close