Pondering the passing game
There are some issues with scheme, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said; the team has to come up with better ways to deal with defenses that are playing press coverage outside and a single safety up top.
Some routes could be better, Frazier added. And pass protection has to improve.
But Frazier’s Monday press conference focused mainly on the play of quarterback Christian Ponder.
Let’s get this out of the way: Frazier said he has not thought about benching Ponder, not even for a series.
“We do some things preparation-wise during the course of the week to prepare him for just about every situation that he sees,” Frazier said. “Then it just comes back to our being able to execute in certain situations.”
Frazier said Ponder seemed confident. Now it’s a matter of doing it on the field.
“I think the last couple of weeks there have been some things that have come up that we need to keep working on,” Frazier said. “Not only with him, but our entire offense, to get better production out of the pass game. He knows there are some things he needs to improve on, but there are also some things throughout our passing game that we have to get corrected in order to help him be successful.”
That said, Frazier fielded a number of questions that focused squarely on Ponder, including:
--On Ponder’s accuracy issues, particularly a miss to Devin Aromashodu and a high pass on a bubble screen. “He’s completed that with accuracy thought the season,” Frazier said of the screen. “For whatever reason, the ball sailed on him. He’s got to get his feet set and got to make that throw.”
--On whether his sore knee was an issue in Ponder’s accuracy: “He hasn’t complained about his knee,” Frazier said. “I don’t think that’s an issue.”
--On Ponder appearing uncomfortable in the pocket: “If you get a lot of pressure usually that will create that,” Frazier said.
On Ponder’s confidence: “Part of being a quarterback at our level is throwing into tight windows,” Frazier said. “He’s capable of doing that. We’ve all seen him do it and (we’ve) just got to consistently do it because if we get those opportunities on Sunday in this ballgame we’ll have to take advantage of it.”
Bottom line is defenses are going to continue to load up the box until Ponder and the Vikings figure out a way to take advantage of that situation. “It’s not just what Christian is doing or not doing,” Frazier said. “But some of the things we’re doing as a whole.”
Frazier was asked about Harvin being caught on camera complaining to Frazier.
“He just wants to win,” Frazier said. “We were struggling with some things and you know he had frustration along with a lot of us because we felt like we could do more than what we did yesterday. … We have a lot of competitive guys on our team who want to win and want to see things happen for our team. He’s one of them. I appreciate his competitiveness and there’s a way to communicate and he and I have talked about some of that and we’ll continue to work on that.”
Stopping the run
The passing game isn’t the only thing that needs work, Frazier admitted. After seeing porous run defense for a third straight week, Frazier said he and his staff would go to “square one’’ to see that change.
“Our run defense doesn’t even resemble the type of run defense we’re capable of playing,” Frazier said. “And we have to get back to the drawing board and come up with some ways to defend the run better than we’re doing. We have to look at some things and try to get some things corrected, and really almost start from square one when it comes to our rush defense. It’s not up to par by any means.”
Seattle totaled 195 rushing yards – led by Marshawn Lynch’s 124 – and averaged 4.3 yards per rush.
Frazier said there were missed tackles, and some occasions where the Vikings still were not where they needed to be. “We don’t want to keep coming back on Mondays and talking about our run defense,” he said. “So we’ve got to figure it out.”
As mentioned before, the Vikings injury report coming out of the game focuses mainly on Percy Harvin (ankle) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (turf toe). An MRI confirmed Harvin’s ankle sprain. Both he and Guion are considered day-to-day. Tight end John Carlson (concussion) was scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, but is expected to be back at practice on Wednesday.