London won't be much of a vacation for Vikings

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 24, 2013 - 9:58 AM

The team has plenty to fix, and facing the Steelers in London might be a beneficial change.

Vikings players streamed into Winter Park on Monday with jumbo-sized luggage in tow. An overnight flight to London awaited as the team made final preparations for a week spent abroad.

NFL coaches and players are creatures of habit who rarely deviate from their routine. To that end, coach Leslie Frazier’s goal is to simulate a typical work week in another country with a six-hour time difference.

Complicating matters is the fact his team is 0-3 and sorting through myriad issues after a deflating 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Now, they give up a home game to play the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers in a neutral setting.

The Vikings don’t embark on their international getaway under ideal conditions or in the best mood, but everyone inside the organization agrees on one thing: The team desperately needs a victory, regardless of the venue.

“We’re not going out to have a vacation,” quarterback Christian Ponder said.

Frazier appeared particularly dejected after the loss, but said Monday that he doesn’t believe substantial changes in personnel are necessary to fix his team’s problems.

“You only want to make changes if there’s a problem in an area where you feel like you have a better solution,” he said. “I don’t know if change for the sake of change is the right thing to do. You got to be able to stand in front of the guys in the locker room and talk to them about why you’re making the change. Then it’s got to be something you feel like is going to help your football team be successful. So change for change sake — I don’t totally buy into that.”

In other words, fans clamoring for a change at quarterback won’t get their wish this week. Frazier reiterated that Ponder remains his starter and that breakdowns in all areas have contributed to the poor start.

“We are doing enough things that are not right across the board that are affecting our win-loss record, and it is not just the quarterback position,” Frazier said. “He has to play better, but so do some other groups on our football team. I don’t think that where we are is necessarily purely because of Christian Ponder.”

It’s hard not to become transfixed on Ponder’s ineffectiveness, though. He’s thrown five interceptions and only two touchdown passes and also fumbled twice. His 65.9 passer rating ranks 30th among starting quarterbacks. The Vikings and Jaguars are the only two teams in the NFL that have zero touchdown catches by their wide receivers.

Ponder’s flaws are compounded by subpar play around him. Throw a dart at a board and it likely will find an area of deficiency:

• The offensive line has looked out of sorts since the preseason. Ponder was sacked six times Sunday and defenses are swarming Adrian Peterson.

“We’ve got to find a way to get five guys executing correctly on each and every play,” Frazier said.

• The Vikings rank 28th in pass defense, 29th in total defense, 30th in scoring defense. They’ve allowed game-winning touchdowns on the final drive in the past two games.

• The Vikings have created 10 takeaways, tied for second-most in the NFL. Conversely, they’ve turned the ball over 10 times, second-most in the league.

“You can’t turn the ball over at the rate that we’re turning it over and expect to win,” Frazier said. “Unless you’re so superior to your opponents, and we’re not.”

• Special teams have cost them dearly. In Week 2, the kickoff team allowed Devin Hester to set a team record with 249 return yards. On Sunday, two miscues allowed the Browns to score 10 points. The Vikings got fooled on a fake punt that went for 34 yards and then allowed an 11-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal after they neglected to cover Jordan Cameron along the sideline.

That’s a lot to fix in an unusual work week.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 4th Qtr 0:21
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd 8:40
Dallas 1
St. Louis 2 2nd Prd
Vancouver 2
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 69 2nd Half 5:19
Colorado 70
Washington St 34 2nd Half
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question