Ponder, first unit see little playing time in Vikings' preseason loss

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2013 - 8:18 AM

Christian Ponder had a completion and a pick in a brief outing, while the Texans pulled away late against Vikings reserves.

 

Those hoping to get a good preseason measure of Christian Ponder’s progress Friday night better not have brought a backpack or an oversized purse to Mall of America Field. There was little time to waste with emergency bag checks or unexpected returns to the parking lots. As it turned out, Ponder’s night on the field didn’t last long during the Vikings’ preseason opener against Houston.

Forty-three seconds of game time, to be exact.

Two passes.

The first: a 15-yard dart to Jerome Simpson for a first down. The second: another bullet toward Simpson, this one a bit out in front, hitting the receiver in the hand and bouncing into the arms of Houston safety Shiloh Keo. Interception.

That was it for Ponder. That was it for the first-unit offensive line and receivers, too, in a game the Texans broke open after halftime to win 27-13.

The pick? With a blitz coming, Ponder didn’t see exactly what he was expecting and couldn’t connect. Night over.

“It’s the first preseason game and I know a lot of these younger guys needed the work and everything,” Ponder said.

A reminder: No one was all that worried about Friday’s final result. The preseason opener, after all, is most valuable for assessing the bottom half of the roster and the lesser-known commodities. Which is why Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Chad Greenway, Kevin Williams and Brian Robison were among the starters not in pads when the night began.

The adrenalizing preseason tease came instead from Cordarrelle Patterson, whose advertised swiftness with the ball in his hands was evident on the opening kickoff, which the rookie receiver returned 50 yards, just one cut away from taking it the distance.

“That thing opened up so big,” Patterson said. “I wasn’t even expecting it to open up like that. … I thought I had it to the house, man.”

Patterson was equally impressive on offense, catching four passes for 54 yards in the first half.

“The opening kickoff obviously was a big one,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “But then some of the catches he made on those inside breaking routes [too]. And he showed some ability to break some tackles there. So that was very encouraging.”

And give undrafted rookie Zach Line a nod of approval for delivering the night’s biggest play, a 61-yard touchdown reception on a dump off from Matt Cassel early in the second quarter. Line slipped a pair of tackles on his rumble to the end zone and picked up a key downfield block from Stephen Burton.

“As I came out of the backfield, I saw that it was pretty wide open,” Line said. “I knew they were going to flow over the top. That’s when I saw Stephen coming over; [he] made it easy for me. Seriously, it was like a chariot riding down the sidelines until the very end.”

That score was part of a night for Cassel (12-for-19, 212 yards, 96.8 rating) that had its moments as the Vikings piled up 247 yards before halftime with the backup quarterback leading three scoring drives. But Cassel also matched Ponder with an interception, on an ill-advised throw across the field toward John Carlson.

Frazier’s plan had always been for the first-team offense to play just one series. But after that opening drive ended so abruptly, it was a decision that seemed, at the very least, peculiar for an offense that still has so much to polish.

After only two snaps, it might not have been a terrible idea to tweak the plan, providing a second series to establish a rhythm and to at least give Ponder something more constructive on which to build.

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Kansas City 3 Bottom 7th Inning
San Francisco 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 68 3rd Qtr 3:51
Utah 68
Sacramento 24 2nd Qtr 10:12
LA Lakers 26
Denver 0 1st Qtr 12:00
Golden State 0
Portland 0 1st Qtr 11:18
LA Clippers 0
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 2 3rd Prd
Colorado 3
Carolina 0 2nd Prd 12:59
Edmonton 0
Columbus 1 1st Prd :59
Anaheim 2
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 16 2nd Qtr 1:00
Boise State 34
(6) Oregon 7 1st Qtr 6:25
California 14
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
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Western Ky
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Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
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Iowa State
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(22) West Virginia
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Texas Tech
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Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 13 2:41
Calgary 8
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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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 Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
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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