A big theme for the rest of the 2011 season will be the development of QB Christian Ponder. Through 3 games as the team’s starter, he’s displayed the mental acumen and physical ability to be the franchise’s QB of the future. But as you can say about any first-year starter through just 3 games, there is still plenty of progress to be made.
One area in which Ponder has already excelled, though, is passing under pressure. Ponder is currently completing 64.1% of his passes on 3rd down, which ranks as the 6th-best completion percentage among QBs with 20-plus 3rd-down attempts on the season. In addition, Ponder has been even better when guiding the Vikings inside the red zone. In the red area, Ponder has gone 6-of-6 with a pair of TDs, which is tops among all NFL among all passers.
Again, by no means can we say Ponder has arrived. But there are good signs to date, and Ponder’s performance under pressure is perhaps the brightest sign yet. Third downs and the red zone is money time for NFL QBs, and so far Ponder has passed the test in those situations.
Tags: Christian Ponder
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 167 Comments »
Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson have been among the best players at their positions this season, with Allen leading the NFL in sacks and Peterson tied for the League lead in rushing TDs. Vikings fans have recognized this and their votes are adding up because both Allen and Peterson lead the NFL in Pro Bowl voting at their respective positions.
Peterson is actually 4th in overall Pro Bowl voting with 469,117 votes, behind QBs Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady (1st and 2nd) and also WR Calvin Johnson.
Pro Bowl voting will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones by going to NFL.com/probowl through Monday, December 19.
The teams will be announced at 7:00 pm (ET) Tuesday, December 27 on a special NFL Total Access 2012 Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network. The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 29, 2012 and televised live on NBC at 7:00 pm (ET) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »
The Vikings and Raiders will play each other on Sunday, which means Wednesday is each team’s first day of practice and the day in which they issue their first injury reports. There are 20 players listed on the injury report between the two teams, so there’s a lot to go over.
For the Vikings, there’s good news because Christian Ponder (hand) was a full participant. Also, WR Michael Jenkins (knee) was limited. Four Vikings – G Anthony Herrera (knee), S Husain Abdullah (concussion), LB Erin Henderson (hamstring) and LS Cullen Loeffler (shoulder) – did not practice. CB Chris Cook has been ruled out.
The Raiders report is much more extensive. The following players did not practice: QB Jason Campbell, WR Jacoby Ford, K Sebastian Janikowski, CB Chris Johnson, RB Darren McFadden, DT Richard Seymour and RB Manase Tonga. The following players were limited participants: CB Chimdi Chekwa, S Matt Giordano, S Michael Huff, S Michael Mitchell, C Samson Satele and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 14 Comments »
As part of the NFL’s ongoing efforts to increase fan safety and security, the Vikings will begin using handheld metal detectors for entrance to the Vikings-Raiders game at Mall of America Field this Sunday. The metal detectors, in limited use for this weekend’s game, will fully replace the current pat-down procedure beginning with the Vikings-Broncos game on Sunday, December 4.
“The thoroughness of a search for dangerous weapons with a handheld metal detector is superior to that of a conventional pat-down,” said Vikings Director of Security Kim Klawiter. “This process will better protect our fans and, at the same time, be less invasive and limit the need for physical contact with patrons.”
The Vikings are encouraging fans to:
• Arrive at Mall of America Field early
• Allow extra time for entrance to stadium
• Cooperate with security personnel
• Be patient while fans and stadium security staff adjust to the new process
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »
The Vikings made a pair of roster moves on Wednesday as they prepare to face the Oakland Raiders at Mall of America Field this Sunday.
CB Antoine Winfield has been placed on the Reserve/Injured list after fracturing his clavicle in Monday night’s game. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said Winfield will undergo surgery on Wednesday.
To fill the open roster spot, the Vikings signed CB Benny Sapp. Prior to the 2010 season, the Vikings traded Sapp to the Miami Dolphins for WR Greg Camarillo in a move that improved each team’s depth at a position of need. Sapp, 5-10, 190 pounds, is an 8-year veteran out of Northern Iowa and knows Frazier’s defensive system well.
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Benny Sapp
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 77 Comments »
After a pair of road games sandwiched on either side of a Week 9 bye, the Vikings will return to Mall of America Field this Sunday for a contest against the Oakland Raiders. This will be the first time the Vikings and Raiders have met since 2007, and it will also mark the 3rd of 4 games the Vikings will play against AFC West opponents (they play the Denver Broncos in Week 13).
The Raiders come into this matchup following a momentous 24-17 road victory over the San Diego Chargers last week. The win improved Oakland’s record to 5-4 and it put them atop the AFC West. The game was played last Thursday night, so the Raiders have had a few extra days to rest, heal and prepare for this game against the Vikings.
Oakland has a pair of impressive wins, having defeated the New York Jets 34-24 in Week 3 and the Houston Texans 25-20 on the road in Week 5, only days after the passing of their owner Al Davis. But they also have a couple of head-scratching losses, falling to the Kansas City Chiefs at home by a score of 28-0 and then dropping another home decision against the Broncos just two weeks ago.
The Raiders have the NFL’s 9th-ranked offense, averaging 384.9 yards per game, and they excel on the ground, where they have the NFL’s 4th-ranked rushing offense and average 156.2 rushing yards per game. Oakland’s running game is a power-rushing attack that features Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, along with a big, physical offensive line. McFadden is the more skilled RB, but his status is in question for this game. If McFadden can’t go, the Raiders are still in good shape because Bush is a more-than-capable replacement. In fact, last week against the Chargers, Bush was the star of the show, rushing for 157 yards and 1 TD on 30 carries and also adding 85 receiving yards.
Another headliner on the Raiders offense is QB Carson Palmer. The Raiders had a significant need at QB because their starter at the beginning of the season – Jason Campbell – suffered a broken collarbone and was going to miss significant time. Palmer was acquired on October 19, appeared in his first game as a Raider just days later in Week 7, and then made his first start in Week 9 following the team’s bye. With a few games and nearly a month of practice to his credit in Oakland, Palmer might be poised to ignite a Raiders passing attack that features plenty of speed at wide receiver.
Defensively, Oakland ranks just 26th in yards allowed per game (378.4) and they rank in a tie for 27th in scoring defense, allowing 25.9 points per game. They allow 246.0 passing yards per game and 132.4 rushing yards per game, which both rank near the bottom of the NFL. Those numbers won’t intimidate you, but also don’t let them fool you. The Raiders have a group of capable, physical defenders.
Richard Seymour is a 6-time Pro Bowler and he anchors their defensive line. At the second level Oakland features Rolando McClain at middle LB and then Kamerion Wimbley at outside LB. McClain, a 1st-round pick (#8 overall) is coming into his own in the middle of that defense and Wimbley, also a 1st-round pick (#13 overall) is coming off a game in which he had 4.0 sacks and 1 pass defensed.
That’s a brief rundown of the Raiders. We’ll have plenty more about this matchup as today and the rest of the week roll along.
Stadium FAQ: Why did the Vikings choose Ramsey County to be their local partner?
For more than a year, the Vikings have had discussions with the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and Ramsey County. During the process, Ramsey County has stepped up to be a willing and strong partner, and both the team and the County are excited about this stadium vision.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 220 Comments »
As is the case each Wednesday during the NFL season, fans can head to Mall of America tonight from 6:30 to 7 to check out “Vikings Country,” a weekly radio show hosted by Mike Mussman and co-hosted by either Jared Allen or Chad Greenway. Tonight, Greenway is the co-host.
The show will be broadcast live from the Sky Deck Sports Grille and Bar at Mall of America – located on the fourth floor, east side – every Wednesday during the regular season and will air on KFAN (FM 100.3); the show will also be aired on Fox Sports North at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday. Allen and Greenway will alternate weeks as co-hosts of the show with Mussman, and the Vikings Street Team will be at each broadcast giving away great prizes.
Fans are encouraged to attend the live broadcast each week at the Sky Deck Sports Grille and Bar, where they will enjoy a state-of-the-art restaurant and entertainment facility that features high definition TV’s, quality billiards, 12 lanes of bowling and a great menu of beverages and food.
Allen will co-host the following nights: Nov. 23, Dec. 7, and Dec. 21. Greenway will co-host on tonight, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, and Dec. 28.
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