Sid Hartman: A lot of positives for Vikings go to waste

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2013 - 6:41 AM

Christian Ponder played better in the second half and the Vikings made some big plays, but it wasn’t enough.

It’s unfortunate that the Vikings lost Sunday’s game at Chicago 31-30 to the Bears, because they did so many good things, including a strong second-half performance by quarterback Christian Ponder.

After going only 6-for-14 in the first half for 81 yards and an interception returned 44 yards for a touchdown, Ponder went 10-for-16 for 146 yards in the second half. His quarterback rating was 56.0 in the first half but 92.2 in the second.

Jay Cutler was not very crisp for much of Sunday, and the Bears quarterback said that he knew the team was lucky to get a victory.

“Four turnovers is too much for this offense, especially three on me,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “There’s a lot to clean up. We’re grateful for the win, we’ve just got to get better.”

But Cutler did make the big plays at the end, including the 16-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds to go. Cutler completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and a 97.2 rating, while Ponder was 16-for-30 for 227 yards and a 75.3 rating.

Brian Billick, the former Vikings offensive coordinator who was the color commentator on Fox for the second week in a row, was very positive when it came to Ponder in the second half, describing one pass he completed to Greg Jennings as being like a “laser-guided missile.”

But Ponder talked after the game about what a letdown the finish was.

“It’s a very disappointing loss. I think everyone fought hard to the very end, and I’m proud of the guys,” he said. “Those guys in the locker room, we’re a family, and it’s tough to see when guys are hurting after a loss like that. It’s frustrating. But we know we can learn from it, and we’re going to move on. I’m proud.

“We’re a great team. Chicago is a great team. It’s tough to win in Chicago, and for us to take it all the way down to the last play is something to be proud of. We’re not proud we lost, but there’s a lot of positives we can take and learn from it and apply to the rest of the season. We have 14 more games. We’re 0-2 on paper, but we’re a better team than how we’re playing.”

There were other highlights for the Vikings, including the 61-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by defensive end Brian Robison, the 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the game for rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, and the fact that Jennings showed some of his Packers catching prowess by contributing five receptions for 84 yards.

And then there was the tipped interception in the end zone by Kevin Williams, who returned to action after missing the opener at Detroit because of an ankle injury. You could also add the 56.7-yard average on three punts by new punter Jeff Locke, who had a less-than-stellar debut in the 34-21 loss to the Lions.

However, one of the big negatives that lost the game was that the Vikings allowed Devin Hester to account for 249 yards on five kick returns. Hester had returned 24 kicks for a total of 621 yards last year.

Ultimately, all the positives the Vikings accumulated Sunday mean little, as all that counts is the standings, and the Vikings now have lost their past five games in Chicago.

The Vikings are 0-2 in the division, and the history of the NFL shows that not many teams win division titles after starting out with that record.

Blames self

It was interesting in the postgame news conference on television that Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was very critical of his play-calling and took the blame for the loss.

“The last two-minute sequence I could have done some things different,” he said of the Bears’ final possession. “I told our players after the game as a staff we couldn’t have asked for any better preparation or better fight from our team. Personally, I have to do a better job in guiding our team in the last sequence.”

On the Vikings’ last offensive drive, they had a three-point lead and first-and-goal from the 6-yard line with 3:33 left. A touchdown likely would have sealed the victory.

Instead the Vikings ran Adrian Peterson on first down for a 2-yard gain, then ran a play-action pass to Kyle Rudolph that was incomplete, and finally gave the ball back to Peterson for a rush up the middle on third down that was stopped for no gain.

So after being in such great position, the Vikings had to kick a 22-yard field goal. Frazier said he didn’t second-guess the decision to run on third down, but you have to wonder if passing would have been a better idea considering Ponder’s second half.

As for the reaction by Bears coach Marc Trestman, the St. Louis Park native told the Chicago Tribune: “We can get better. We’re going to look at the film and work on some things. … Our guys kept their cool and made enough plays.”

Adelman set

There never has been much doubt about Rick Adelman returning as Timberwolves coach, but it wasn’t for sure until he brought his coaching staff out to his home in Portland, Ore., last week and laid out the plans for this season.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed Adelman’s return Sunday. “Yes, he did [say he’s coming back],” Taylor said.

On the subject of the remodeling of Target Center and how the $100 million in expenses will be paid for, Taylor reported some progress after a long delay and how much each of the three partners will contribute.

“We have an agreement with the city, and now they are working with the management team AEG to get an agreement there,” Taylor said. “We’re just sort of waiting on the city to work it out with them. Then it’s my understanding that once they get that done, they’re going to bring it to the City Council.

“We have obligated ourselves to pay for $44 million to fix Target Center. The city will put in $50 million. We have to get $6 million from AEG.”

Taylor added that once AEG agrees to come up with the $6 million and the City Council votes in favor as expected, Taylor will proceed with the plans to remodel a good portion of the Block E complex into a modern practice facility for the Wolves.

“That is all dependent on us getting the Target Center fixed up,” Taylor said. “We’ve notified the city of that, too, because it’s important to get it through the City Council so we can go to the next step of the practice facility.

“The [practice facility is not] part of the bonding thing, but it’s part of our reinvestment into the community.

“We haven’t announced anything, but let me just say we have been working on it and we’re prepared to move ahead with it if we can get this Target Center deal done.”

How much will the practice facility cost the Wolves owner? “The answer to that is a lot,” Taylor said.


Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

  • related content

  • Video: Access Vikings: Players unhappy with decisions

    Monday September 16, 2013

    The Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears 31-30 at Soldier Field and dropped to 0-2 on the season.

  • The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears 31-30 at Soldier Field...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 86 2nd Half 1:39
Hawaii 76
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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 NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question