For Vikings' Ponder and Jennings, it's sync or sink

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2013 - 3:25 PM

Christian Ponder and Greg Jennings are still at the getting-acquainted stage in the Vikings’ passing game.

Sure, it was only preseason. But Greg Jennings’ Vikings debut left him unsatisfied.

Two plays, 49 seconds.

That’s how long the first-unit offense was on the field during last week’s loss to Houston. And with starting quarterback Christian Ponder directing both of his passes to Jerome Simpson — a 15-yard completion and a misfired interception — Jennings had little opportunity to show his new home crowd the playmaking energy he hopes to infuse into the Vikings’ needy passing attack.

On the first play, Jennings ran an 8-yard comeback route out of the slot, followed by a simple in route on the next snap.

The ball never came his way.

After that, his night was over with coach Leslie Frazier sticking to the plan to remove the starting offense after one series.

“You hope for a good series,” Jennings said. “But when you have the result that we had it’s like, ‘Aw, can we get one more series?’ But it is what it is.”

It’s understandable why Jennings is so antsy to see game action. Through three weeks of training camp, he’s been judged as a talker more than a receiver, his every sentence scrutinized and combed for something juicy and sensational.

At this point, Jennings would much rather have his receiving abilities under the microscope. So maybe Friday’s preseason game in Buffalo will provide a fitting page turn.

More than anything, it gives the Vikings an opportunity to polish their evolving passing attack in game speed.

Jennings wants the offense to pass several key tests.

“Sustaining drives. Moving the ball down the field. Getting some rhythm,” he said. “It’s kind of getting our feet underneath us. Any time you get into a game, it’s a different speed. It’s different momentum. So you tend to get fatigued a little quicker.”

Chemistry experiment

It might only be preseason, but Ponder certainly soon needs to provide evidence he is making strides with his accuracy and decision-making. He must also find a rhythm with a receiving corps that’s mostly new to him.

Jennings was a Packer last year. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson was at the University of Tennessee. And Simpson and Jarius Wright combined to play 19 games with 48 catches for 584 yards and two touchdowns.

So yeah, the Vikings need to establish timing within their passing attack before the Sept. 8 season opener at Detroit. And they’ll have Friday’s game in Buffalo and an Aug. 25 game at San Francisco to push things along.

“We want to jell,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “We want to get a rapport with one another, with our comfort level, our rhythm. And we are doing that at practice, but it is different in the game. We will keep working in that direction so we can be really good by Detroit. That’s the whole game — get to Detroit healthy and in rhythm.”

With Adrian Peterson sitting out last week, the Vikings had 37 passing plays vs. 15 runs, a far different balance than they’ll ever show in the regular season. But for coach Leslie Frazier, that’s by design, an acknowledgment that the timing in the passing game is a priority.

  • related content

  • Vikings-Buffalo preseason game preview

    Friday August 16, 2013

    The Vikings should play many of their starters at least one quarter after most of them had brief cameos in a preseason-opening 27-13 loss to Houston last week.

  • Video: SidCast: Wilf legal troubles no problem for stadium

    Friday August 16, 2013

    Sid says politicians are hedging their bets with voters before elections.

  • Vikings-Buffalo rosters

    Thursday August 15, 2013

    vikings rosterNo. Name Pos.3 Blair Walsh K4 McLeod Bethel-Thompson QB6 James Vandenberg QB7 Christian Ponder QB8 Erik Highsmith WR11 Stephen Burton WR12 Jeff Locke P14 Joe Webb WR15 Greg Jennings WR16 Matt Cassel QB17 Jarius Wright WR18 Chris Summers WR19 Adam Thielen WR20 Chris Cook CB21 Josh Robinson CB22 Harrison...

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) spoke with receiver...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr
Virginia 10
Western Mich 14 3rd Qtr
Purdue 23
(5) Ohio State 6 3rd Qtr
Navy 7
Appalachian St 0 3rd Qtr
Michigan 35
Ga Southern 17 3rd Qtr
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
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 Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close