Craig: Vikings bounce from one QB to the next

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 20, 2013 - 11:15 AM

No matter which Vikings QB gets the ball, he doesn’t play well enough to keep it.

Imagine reaching the end of a terrible workday. You’ve just stepped out of the shower, you’re half-naked and getting dressed when a group of people sidle up to you. With tape recorders and cameras rolling, these folks want you to relay to the world how you really feel about your co-workers and bosses.

You probably wouldn’t be entirely forthcoming, eh?

Now you know how the Vikings feel during this year’s 2-8 free-fall. Particularly the quarterbacks, all three of whom essentially were asked some form of “What the heck’s going on at quarterback?” following Sunday’s 41-20 loss at Seattle.

“I don’t know,” last week’s starter, Christian Ponder, said.

“That’s a question you’ll have to ask [coach] Leslie [Frazier],” backup Matt Cassel said.

And …

“It’s not really my job to make sense of the situation,” said Josh Freeman, the favorite to start against the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Frazier has sidestepped the question about who will start twice this week. He might do the same Wednesday when the Vikings return to Winter Park to begin preparing for the Packers in earnest.

It’s hard to blame Frazier as he tries to navigate one of the more difficult NFL quarterback quandaries you’ll ever see unfold over the course of 2½ months. By now, Frazier has to feel like the game-show contestant who wants the Corvette but wins the donkey no matter which door he chooses.

Combined, the Vikings’ quarterbacks have turned the ball over 17 times in 10 games. They own a minus-8 turnover differential compared to the opposing quarterbacks. And the differential for the points scored off those turnovers is minus-41.

Now compare that to Russell Wilson, who has directed the Seahawks to an NFL-best 10-1. His turnover differential compared to opposing quarterbacks is plus-8 with a plus-54 point differential.

Amazingly, this week marks the seventh time in 11 games that Frazier has faced having to make a decision on his starting quarterback. Three of them have been injury-related.

Let’s analyze those decisions here. Just follow the bouncing ball, literally, as we use turnovers to try and figure out why Frazier made the decisions he made. Just keep in mind that it’s not Frazier’s job to lose games so his successor can draft Johnny Football.

Decision time I: Week 4 vs. Steelers.

The skinny: Ponder to Cassel. Ponder broke a rib during the Week 3 loss to Cleveland. The only mistake was waiting until three days before the game to announce that Ponder had broken a rib.

Turnover situation: This was an opportune injury. Not only was Ponder 0-3, but he had seven turnovers.

Decision time II: Week 6 vs. Panthers.

The skinny: Cassel stays put. Ponder’s rib had healed after the bye, but sticking with Cassel after a victory over the Steelers was a no-brainer.

  • related content

  • Groundbreaking for Vikings stadium set for Dec. 3

    Wednesday November 20, 2013

    The date, a month later than initially planned, was scheduled after Stadium Authority, team and contractor agreed on construction costs.

  • Chart: The good, bad and ugly QB play of Vikings

    Tuesday November 19, 2013

    Purple painThe (Not-so-)Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Vikings QB play in 2013:Christian Ponder• Record: 1-6• QB turnovers:13• QB vs....

  • Mark Craig's Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

    Tuesday November 19, 2013

    Week 12 power rankings1. Broncos 9-12. Seahawks 10-13. Panthers 7-34. Chiefs 9-15. Patriots 7-36. Saints 8-27. 49ers 6-48. Giants 4-69. Cardinals 6-410. Eagles 6-511. Rams 4-612. Colts 7-313. Bengals 7-414. Bears 6-415. Steelers 4-616. Lions 6-417....

  • Rand: Peterson not alone as top RB with struggling QBs

    Tuesday November 19, 2013

    If you’ve come to the conclusion that Adrian Peterson’s career is being wasted amid a comical collection of quarterbacks, you...

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel (16) was intercepted by Seah...

  • Will it be Josh Freeman, left, Christian Ponder, right, or even Matt Cassel starting this week against Green Bay? None of the three can make a strong case for earning the starting job.

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel throws before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) ORG XMIT: MPD101

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman (12) reacts to a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) ORG XMIT: NYFF1

  • Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder scrambles and then throws deep to Jerome Simpson incomplete in the 4th quarter. ] Minnesota Vikings vs Cleveland Browns, Minneapolis Metrodome. BRIAN PETERSON ‚Ä¢ brianp@startribune.com Minneapolis, MN - 09/22//2013 ORG XMIT: MIN1309221654041848

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 4
Miami 4 Delayed
St. Louis 2
Baltimore 3 Top 8th Inning
Detroit 4
Minnesota 4 Top 8th Inning
Boston 4
NY Yankees 3 Bottom 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Philadelphia 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Toronto 0
Cincinnati 3:05 PM
Cleveland
Los Angeles 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Kansas City 3:05 PM
Seattle
Seattle 3:05 PM
Milwaukee
San Diego 3:10 PM
Arizona
NY Mets 4:05 PM
Washington
LA Angels 6:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Colorado 8:05 PM
Texas
Oakland 9:05 PM
San Francisco
Indiana 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Carolina
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Washington
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Anaheim 6:00 PM
Boston
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
San Jose 6:30 PM
Detroit
NY Rangers 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Florida 6:30 PM
Toronto
Montreal 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Wichita State 6:15 PM
Notre Dame
North Carolina 6:47 PM
Wisconsin
Evansville 7:30 PM
Louisiana
West Virginia 8:45 PM
Kentucky
Xavier 9:17 PM
Arizona
St Johns 6:00 PM
Villanova
NC State 6:00 PM
Temple
Missouri 6:00 PM
Michigan
Duquesne 6:00 PM
West Virginia
Ole Miss 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
UCLA
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
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 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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close