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Continued: Hartman: Billick says Vikings need to make changes

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 14, 2013 - 6:25 AM

Was that first possession by Carolina — a 15-play, 62-yard march that lasted 9 minutes, 29 seconds and ended with Newton’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith — deflating to the defense?

“We’re at home,” Robison said. “You never want to allow a team to come in here and drive the ball the way they did. I don’t know how many plays that drive was, but I know it was too many. I know when you look up on the clock and you see 1:30 or 1:00 [left] on the clock and they’ve only had one possession, you know their offense has had the ball too long.”

“There are no excuses here,” Robison added. “Bye week, days off, to me you can throw that out the window. Bottom line is we came in here and just got stomped in the face.”

Now the Vikings’ Monday night game with the New York Giants on Oct. 21 becomes crucial. If the team has five losses after six games, their chances of making the playoffs are gone.

Ponder wants to play

Christian Ponder, the only quarterback the Vikings definitely have signed for next year — Matt Cassel signed a two-year contract last March that could be voided after this season, and Josh Freeman is signed for the rest of this year — said he wasn’t surprised how well the Carolina defense played

“I think for anybody that is on the sideline and wants to be out there, it’s tough,” Ponder said. “But you have to give credit to Carolina. They played well, they have a good defense and we knew that. I don’t know what else to do, we just have to play better.”

Does Ponder believe he’ll start another game for the Vikings?

“It’s not my decision,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but we’ll see.”

Could he have done a better job at quarterback on Sunday, given the chance?

“It doesn’t really matter,” he said. “I mean, you know I don’t know what would have happened. Carolina has a really good defense and they stopped the run and the offense couldn’t get in a rhythm. We have to play better, and we have to prepare better.”

Ponder was asked if he would be interested in going to another club if he doesn’t get the chance to start here.

“I’m just worried about getting healthy, and we’ll see how this coming week goes,” he said. “I was cleared by the doctors to play. … You know it is what it is. It’s a situation. I’m focused on what I can control and that’s my preparation and getting better in practice and I’m going to continue to do that and make it as tough of a decision for Coach as possible.”

And how did he feel Cassel played in his second Vikings start?

“I felt like he did what he could do,” Ponder said. “Their defense played well, got some pressure in the backfield, and he was put in some situations that were tough. He made some mistakes, but we’ll learn from the film. I know he’s a hard critic on himself, and we’ll see what he says. We knew they were a good defense. They have a good front and they played well.”

 

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. shartman@startribune.com

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