Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Go Figure: Ponder's presence produces big-play potential

Posted by: under Vikings, Packers, Adrian Peterson Updated: October 25, 2011 - 9:17 AM

As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 8 game with the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts.

5
Plays of 25 yards or more put together by the Vikings’ offense in Sunday’s loss. Michael Jenkins’ 72-yard reception on the opening play energized the Vikings and the Mall of America Field crowd. Adrian Peterson also had three runs of at least 25 yards, including a long of 54 in the third quarter. Through the first six weeks of the season, the Vikings had a total of 10 plays of 25 yards or more.
 
59.2
Christian Ponder’s quarterback rating in Sunday’s 33-27 home loss to Green Bay. Ponder went 13-for-32 for 219 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. For what it’s worth, Donovan McNabb’s quarterback rating from his six starts this season was 82.9.
 

175

Peterson’s rushing total in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. Lost in Pondermania was Peterson’s bounce-back effort after gaining only 39 yards in a Week 6 loss in Chicago. With the Packers defense needing to respect Ponder’s playmaking ability, Peterson found more holes than usual. He also seemed to run with greater intensity Sunday than we’ve seen all season, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. The 175-yard outburst was Peterson’s fifth-highest rushing total of his career. His other big breakouts: 296 yards against San Diego on Nov. 4, 2007; 224 at Chicago on Oct. 14, 2007; 192 vs. Green Bay on Nov. 9, 2008; 180 at Cleveland on Sept. 13, 2009.
 
818
Receiving yards so far this season by Carolina’s Steve Smith. The 32-year-old receiver is experiencing quite a resurgence with Cam Newton playing quarterback for the Panthers. Smith has 39 catches and three touchdowns through seven games. Last season, in 14 games, Smith totaled 46 receptions for 554 yards with only two TDs as the Panthers struggled to find quarterback consistency; Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore and Brian St. Pierre all started at least one game in 2010.
 
2-0
The Panthers are 2-0 this season in games in which they have been favored. They went into Sunday’s home game against the Redskins as 2.5-point favorites and won 33-20. In Week 3, Carolina was a 3.5-point favorite over Jacksonville and scored a 16-10 victory in Charlotte. Currently, Vegas oddsmakers list the Panthers as 3.5-point favorites over the Vikings for Sunday’s game at Bank of America Stadium.

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