8 Vikings-Rams Storylines To Follow

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 12, 2012 – 7:30 am

A couple of NFC foes will reacquaint themselves this Sunday, as the Vikings travel to St. Louis to challenge the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2009, and it’s the 42nd contest all-time between the two franchises. But enough looking back, let’s look ahead at this matchup and point out a few of the storylines we’ll be chasing this week…

1. A Playoff Game In December?
Both the Vikings and Rams remain alive in the NFC playoff chase, but neither team can likely afford a loss this week if they hope to be in the mix a week from now. There won’t be any playoff pageantry or pre-game hype, but for all intents and purposes, Sunday’s matchup between these two teams is a de facto playoff game. This has no bearing on how the game will unfold on Sunday, but it’s interesting to note that the Vikings and Rams have met in the actual playoffs 7 times, including 4 times from 1974-78. The Vikings won 5 of the 7 postseason contests between the two franchises.

2. Adrian Peterson Chases 2,000-Yard Mark, MVP Award
Shifting the focus for a moment from the team goal of making the playoffs toward highlight individual accomplishment, the story of the week (and of the season) is Adrian Peterson. He leads the NFL with 1,600 rushing yards, which is more rushing yards than 23 other teams have, and he also is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 10 rushing TDs. Peterson will be going for his 8th consecutive 100-yard outing on Sunday, and over the last 7 games he’s averaged 157.2 yards per contest. To reach the 2,000-mark, Peterson must average 133.3 yards per game over the final 3 weeks of the season. Peterson has become a part of the conversation on a national level for MVP consideration, joining the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in that discussion.

3. The Rams Have A Good Running Back, Too
St. Louis has a beast of a RB, too, in Steven Jackson. In fact, Sunday’s Vikings-Rams game features two of the top 3 active career rushing leaders. Jackson (9,929) and Peterson (8,352) rank 1st and 3rd, respectively, in career rushing yards among active players. Jackson runs with an aggressive north-south style and also possesses the extra gear to break away in the open field.

4. Jeff Fisher Has Turned The Rams Around
In his first-year as head coach, the well-respected Jeff Fisher has turned the culture around in St. Louis. The Rams last had a winning season in 2003, when Mike Martz was the head coach and Marc Bulger was the QB. They were 12-4 that season, and since then have been no better than 8-8 and even fell to the depths of 2-14 in 2008 and 1-15 in 2009. They are 6-6-1 under Fisher in his first season, have dramatically increased their performance on defense and seem to be finding a few right answers on offense.

5. Rams A New Team Since Week 9 Bye
The Rams lost 3 straight games heading into their Week 9 bye, dropping them to 3-5 on the season and causing most people to all but forget about them. They came out of the bye a new team, though, playing the San Francisco 49ers to a tie in Week 10, dropping a contest to the Jets in Week 11, and then ripping off 3 straight wins, including 2 on the road, to move them to where they sit now at 6-6-1. Their pass rush has come alive, which has allowed their playmakers in the secondary to be more aggressive, and QB Sam Bradford has a 7-3 TD-INT ratio since the bye week.

6. Vikings Must Slow Down Rams Pass Rush
The Vikings bread and butter is the running game, obviously, so the Rams will be charged with slowing down the NFL’s best RB and 3rd-ranked rushing attack. But when it’s time to put the ball in the air, the Vikings must worry about the NFL’s 2nd-ranked pass rush. The Rams are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 39 sacks. DEs Robert Quinn (9.5) and Chris Long (7.5) lead the way for the Rams pass rush, but 3 others have 3+ sacks so it’s a deep group of pass rushers that will come at QB Christian Ponder all game.

7. Top Rookie Kickers Go Head-To-Head
Both the Vikings and Rams spent draft picks last April on kickers, and both teams couldn’t be happier with their selections. The Vikings, of course, spent a 6th-round pick on Blair Walsh and he’s already set a team record for single-season touchbacks and is just 10 points from setting the Vikings rookie scoring record, currently held by Randy Moss. The Rams also spent a 6th-round pick on their kicker - Greg Zuerlein – and he’s been equally as impressive. Zuerlein is 19 of 24 on FGs this season, including 5 of 8 from 50+. Walsh is 24 of 27 on FGs this season, including 5 of 5 from 50+.

8. Minnesota Natives Set To Battle Hometown Team
A couple of Rams defenders will see familiar colors on Sunday but will be battling against their hometown team. Middle LB James Laurinaitis is a Wayzata, MN native and S Craig Dahl is a Madison Lake, MN native. They are both starters on the Rams defense. Also, Apple Valley, MN native Trevor Laws plays on the Rams defensive line but is on the Reserve/Injured list.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 114 Comments »

114 Responses to “8 Vikings-Rams Storylines To Follow”

  1. By BlueBird7 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Well, here we go again. The game will not be a bed of roses.

    All the sweet talk about who will do what will have to be taken with a grain of salt.

  2. By BlueBird7 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Playoff in December? Yes, and Stanta is going to climb down my chimmey.

    Also going to bring Ponder a new pair of boots to kick-start Muskgraves brain.

  3. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    In week 10…I put up a little thread predicting how I felt the Vikings remaining games might unfold…

    Hoping that the defense might be peaking near the end of the season…And that the passing game would add more balance to our running attack…

    Well the defense is doing very well…But I didn’t predict our passing game to get better…Without PERCY HARVIN !!!…I’m sorry for that…Ponder is also, I’m sure….

    The reason I didn’t want to be too optimistic until those scenarios came together…I because this TEAM with Percy Harvin…I believe, would have had just as good a chance at winning that super bowl trophy at the end of this season….As any other team is the league !!!…

    But………………Taking out Harvin out of that offensive equation…And even with the beast AP running the ball….Hurts our chances a great deal…
    We just DO NOT have enough WR talent this year to allow for Harvins loss… : (

    But then again ???…Try to explain that to a VERY YOUNG team…

    That believes in themselves as a TEAM !!!….Or their head coach !!!….

    Maybe its time for the fans to start believing in their team !!!…

    Because from Ponder to AP…And EVERYTHING in between…This team is playing their hearts out for their fans and owners !!!…

    So how about trying to do a little less complaining…And try a little more cheering for their efforts !!!!!…

    GO VIKINGS !!!!….GO TEAM !!!!……..

  4. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder put us in the position to have to win the last 3 games, lets see if he can dig himself out of this mess, even if we win the last 3 is no promise we will make the playoffs anyway if Seattle and Washington and Dallas keep winning

  5. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012 Do you believe in me too?

  6. By 32frank12 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Shiancoe was released by the patriots today, any chance you think we sign him since he was a reliable when the ball was thrown his way

  7. By Thomas A. on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I am happy that the Vikes are at least in the playoff hunt in December, that is something to be excited about! We are moving the right direction. I will be cheering for the Vikings to make the playoffs and AP to break the rushing record this month! Skol Vikes and Happy Holidays Viking fans!!!!

  8. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Thomas A….Thats the spirit !!!!…

    Where are more fans like Thomas A,Kathy P, and Jayson speaking out on their Vikings team thoughts ???…

    Instead of fools like “Tooth Fairy” making stupid remarks of a 5 year old child would make…

    GO VIKINGS !!!!

  9. By JE on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I love how we try to blame the wide recievers for our terrible passing game. Did you see New England just resigned 59 year old Deion Branch to play. Tom Brady wont miss a beat!!!Ponder may turn into a good QB at some point but he is far from that now. Ponder is stinking up the house and everyone in football knows it!!!

  10. By Duane on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t give me that guff about being supportive for Ponder, or just to be grateful to have a chance to win three games in a row to make the playoffs!

    Ponder did get us in this mess and because of that he isn’t likely to get us out. Apparently our coaches are blind.

    The rest of the team is Super Bowl worthy.

    Put Webb in and give us a chance!

    If Ponder turns over the ball or can’t provide enough passing yards to get us to the Playoffs, and they don’t put in Webb; I demand an apology from anybody in the Vikings organization who let that happen. If Ponder takes us to the Super Bowl, I’ll apologize! Deal?

  11. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    See, Thomas A. believes!

  12. By JE on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Again i am not a ‘Ponder hater’. It is what it is!! Ponder will be the 32 rated starting QB in the league this year. He has NOT played as well as i thought or hoped he would going into this season.Im not tossing him out just yet but he needs to step up his game or we will be on the free agent wire as soon as the season is over.

  13. By Kevin on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Drink the Kool-Aid…it’s fine :)

  14. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t worry….Be happy…. ;-)

  15. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    i can’t see any team out there wanting Ponder, we will end up just cutting him from the team

  16. By JE on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    91 yards passing!!!…Webb can run for that!! Whatever Webb gets passing is just a bonus!! If ponder continues to play the way he has,and i cant see any reason why he wont,put Webb in the game and see how he does.If Harbough can bench Alex Smith then why cant Frazier bench Ponder?? I just dont get it at all!!!!

  17. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    The Tooth Fairy says not to be happy! And You CAN worry about the next three games! The Vikings are NOT going to the Super Bowl this year or anytime soon! Unless they get rid of both Frazier and Musgraves..Throw in Ponder too.
    All the pro-Frazier pro-Ponder-pro-Webb will wake up in the near future!

  18. By Troutdaddy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ok OTKalil2012- I am going to go all in. Not going to Bash Ponder, not going to rip on Frazier (Sorry- Musgrave is still in the doghouse!) This team without Harvin is obviously hurting and Simpson and Wright are working really hard to step up. Aroma is also putting forth good efforts to try and get something going. This week the Rams have a great Pass-rush, but our receivers still have a good chance to use their speed in some mis-matches and actualy give us a chance to throw the ball AND use the run to cram the ball down the throat of their defense. So- I am making a prediction here. Peterson will run for 165 yards on about 25-30 carries and Ponder is going to throw for at least 120 in this game. Vikes will pull this win off 28 to 17. Musgrave better be drawing up some magic this week to get some of these receivers in the open. Everyone remember to where purple on Friday. Going to continue to wear my Harvin Jersey to support him. Pay Percy! Nuf said.

  19. By BlueBird7 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


    I most certainly agree. If ponder falls flat on his face again, put in Webb!!!

  20. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I just hope Frazier and Co. are really smart about what they allow Ponder to “try” 2 do….Keep the choker on this kid b4 he stinks it up again!!! Wobs is right this is a MUST win game so we will hafta start fast and punch em in the mouth early and play with a lead…and please lets limit the turnovers and penalties on the road that have been breaking our backs all year………….skol vikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Tooth Fairy…

    I am sorry…It might very well be, you are a 5 year old child..Judging by what you have written…

    If you are 5 years old..What you have written is actually pretty good…:-)

    So keep your chin up little buddy…And keep cheering for them Packers !!!…

    I’m sure they will be a good team again, someday…:-(

  22. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Rams at home. 27 Vikings with Ponder 6. (two Walsh FG’s)

  23. By norsejeremyw on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Do the Rams have a big TE we have to worry about, too? I’m thinkin the Vikes probably won’t pickup Shianco, however. Who knows? Hopefully the Vikes will implement some passrushing protection so Ponder can MAYBE do something. Who knows what that’ll be. The good thing is that it is in a dome, nonetheless~

  24. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012. I am not 5 yrs old, and if you say that again, I will tell my daddy.

  25. By JE on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Put Webb in and run the 49ers offense. If Harbough was coaching this team who do you think he would be starting at QB??Just a thought??And one more thing,when Webb got to play did he EVER,EVER throw for less than a 100 yards??…NOOO!!! Even when he didnt start and play the whole game he threw for more than that!!!…WHAT WOULD JIM HARBOUGH DO IF HE WERE COACHING THE VIKINGS???…PONDER THAT ONE BOYS!!!

  26. By Kevin on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    sounds like some kid needs to be put in time out! LOL

  27. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Its just the fact…Frazier and Musgrave are going into practice this week…Game planning to hand the ball off to AP 30+ times “minimum”…And for Ponder to not throw the ball at all unless completely necessary…

    That game plan is not going to change…Unless a team stops it first…

    And if they do stop AP…The opposing defense will come after Ponder huge when they start the passing game up to replace that ineffective first half running game…With Ponder having a suspect WR core to try and get the ball too…

    So unless the running game works…We are pretty much out of luck…Because there will be no balanced attack trying to confuse any defense going forward…

    This team will need to “impose their will” with the running attack going forward….That is it..It is, what it is…

    And THAT is not Ponders fault…imo…

  28. By purplehaze1 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Vikes on the road (unfortunately)…Lambs 27
    Vikes 20

    AP …170 yds…2 TDs…Walsh 2 FGS…Flounder…85 yds (zings one floater in there for 15 yds)…2 ints

    but i will still be cheering them on come Sunday…GO VIKES!!!!

  29. By norsejeremyw on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    You may be right, OTK~ It just seems folly to go into game-planning for the week knowing the team could very well be one-dimensional~ I don’t get it, but it’s beyond my control~

  30. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    NO that is in part Ponders fault because if he could throw 4 more than 91 yrds then there would be balance to this offense………we preached it all year about being balanced………they limited Peterson’s carries in the beginning of the year and it seemed like Ponder was playing pretty well through 4 games and then he started stinking it up and now you see Adrian getting 30+ carries a game……so if you think that Ponder is not to blame you are mistaken……..though there are other factors that come in2 play but ultimately if you are deemed to be the guy then you have to preform at a high level and he isn’t doing that…….really thought you were smarter than that OTK u have had alot of good stuff on here but the whole Ponder thing makes me see you in a different light.

  31. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    By norsejeremyw on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    You may be right, OTK~ It just seems folly to go into game-planning for the week knowing the team could very well be one-dimensional~ I don’t get it, but it’s beyond my control~


    I understand your frustration…But the team started this season with 2 VERY dynamic players of elite status on this team…

    Those players were AP and Harvin…

    With Harvin being out for the season…The Vikings are going to ride the other beast…Until his legs fall off…

    I do think Frazier and Musgrave can pass more in this game…And think they will try too…

    But AP is the man, and will carry the load the rest of the way…Or at least as far as AP’s legs will carry us….?????

  32. By Mike B. on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    NorthwoodsV great article on the last post. It is exactly what I have been thinking all along. That we need to give Ponder the chance to prove if he has the ability or not. It also pointed out Webb’s weaknesses. I also feel that Ponder may get all next year to see if he can be what he was drafted to be. Thanks for posting the link.

  33. By Troutdaddy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil- I think you are wrong about Ponder not throwing at all. If he can get anything going, then we we see more from him this week. Running the ball will be the game plan, but Ponder is still going to be looking for shots to take. Aroma nearly pulled one off last week and Ponder is due to find an open man down field. It has to happen some time. Why not this Sunday? Ponder will have set plays to throw just like always. Simpson is due as well. This is a must win game, period. I think we are going to see a more motivated team this week and a few receivers who will step up because it is possibly the last opportunity to do so. Optimism people… None of us obviously know the game plan so I would rather be hopeful than say something is fact when in fact none of us can predict what fact is. Just sayin…But- we all have a pretty good understanding of the game plan will probably be…. Let’s just be a little more optimistic…. supportive….

  34. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Losing Harvin is a HUGE black cloud for the Vikings passing game…

    But there is always a chance at a “silver lining” in every black cloud…

    My hopefuls are…

    Is Simpson still getting stronger from that dumb jumping incident earlier this seasn…Can he get his break away speed back in these final games…And catch the ball if that happens ???

    Can Wright be good enough down the stretch…To help fill those big shoes Harvin leaves unfilled…After leaving with injury…

    Can Rudolf find more space on the football field to work with…With other WR’s getting a little better in these last 3 games…Along with the feared running attack ???….

    And last but not least…Ponder needs to make better decisions…And improve his mechanics going forward….

    I will not give up hope…I am a Vikings fan…

    Go Vikings !!!!

  35. By wacky on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    ponder will sink the ship!!

  36. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Stanta is going to bypass South Dakota this year. He doesn’t have anything for dummies.

  37. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Well you right there but I feel with the way he has gotten stronger each month that we are in for a great December from our star back even with the whole #1, and #2 rushing D’s in the league in the Lambs and Texans…if I’m not mistaken weren’t the bears the # 3 rushing D a few weeks ago? Bet there not any more…..I know A.P. can do it but with a little help from his passing offense it sure would make it a lot easier on him…….skol vikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    You a Viking Fan? More like a big fat dummy in a red suit.

  39. By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTK – you have an odd view of cause and effect.

    Mike B – You must have skipped over the parts where they say Ponder has a statistically poor chance of ever being successful.

  40. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    That was for OTK

  41. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Notice…I am not bashing the WR core this week….

    Did the WR’s maul the Bears….No…Not at all…

    But on some HUGE 3rd down conversion attempts against the Bears…

    Ponder and the WR’s were 6 of 7 against the Bears…

    They helped keep AP on the field running the ball…

    And that was all Frazier wanted from Ponder and his WR’s last week…

  42. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    As far as Simpson is concerned I was so excited in the beginning of the year…..that crazy TD he got for Cinci had me sold… I thought we were getting a great #2 WR with a lil off the field baggage…..which i don’t mind at all but 4 what ever reason he has been invisible all season…….wht gives? But honestly we will need a veteran WR for next year and I don’t believe it should be Shodu, Jenkins or Simpson….I have done my best to like all 3 of these guys but sometimes the truth hurts and when its all said and done its about production and what have you done for me lately and though there has been a catch here or there from all 3 I say its time to part ways at the end of the season….I’m still hoping that Greg Childs will be a future star on this team as well as Jarius and I feel we will go after that #1 deep threat guy in this coming draft but we will need a veteran #2 to play alongside percy as our future #1 develops.

  43. By Kevin on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    well I am going to put it out there…Ponder will throw for 250, 1 td, 1 int. AD will get 165 rush, 34 rec. and 2 td. Walsh will get a field goal. 24 – 14 vikes.

  44. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    And I agree there has been catches like that from these guys that have moved the chains in crucial times….like last week but it has been few and far between and I am still hoping 4 some more this week but with as many games as percy will have missed by seasons end these other guys combined may have not equaled Havins #s….i mean come on that is a major problem and I just don’t know if that is something that can be fixed or coached, ultimately is just lack of talent…..I mean i can hose down my garage can but its still where i keep the trash…..

  45. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    there is no way with that score that Ponder would ever throw for 250 because there is a `0 point gap there and our coaching staff wouldn’t allow him to throw that much with a lead like that……..unless if we were down lets say 14-0 and then went on a 24-0 run then maybe but unlikely because we haven’t shown all season that we can be effective from behind.

  46. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    10* point

  47. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Once again, this opponant is a little different as we are used to seeing them. They have been playing great football. Yes, Vikings beat Sanfran. but so did the Rams. and the played them twice. One tie and one win. So do you think that if we played the 9ers again that we would win? I’m not syaing we wouldn’t…. im just saying

    I think we can win, but not without some kind of passing attack. If we rely on AP alone I fear injuries could come up again. Maybe not as bad as last season, but high ankle sprains or sumthing like that.

    Can we win?? yes, but we have to play smart, disaplined football. Gape control and keep Jackson to under 100 Yards. Also Ponder needs to throw for at least what AP runs for. AT LEAST!!!!!!!!!!

    It is going to be hard fought and should be a great game to watch

  48. By Mike B. on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I saw that, but it also said that there is a probability that Ponder may end up starting next season for evaluation also.

  49. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    gap* not Gape

  50. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I agree w muskyman now get out there and catch1 for me cuz i moved to california and sadly we don’t have any of those toothy critters out this way

  51. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I would VikingFanatic209, but the season is over. only a few more weeks until the Hard water season is good to go.

    Man, I don’t know what I would do without musky fishing. What is there to fish for in Cali where you live?? I would expect there is some cool stuff to fish for? I guess you could be bassin, the bass out there are massive

  52. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I hope Frazier is sensible enough to start 2nd and third string players on defense after we are statistically out of the playoff hunt. Let’s see some Audie Cole

  53. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    When the Vikings have been playing with a lead this season it has been “money in the bank” for them…Making most of their games…Much easier to win…

    While this team has been playing from behind, its been like”trying to put out a fire, with a gallon of gasoline”…

    I expect Frazier and Musgrave to pull out all stops…To get ahead in this game early…Be it run or pass…

    Do the Vikings always get conservative way to early in games…OH YEAH !!!

    But lets just hope what Frazier believes when 3 points, is nothing short of a commanding lead…

    Our defense steps up and proves him VERY wrong…And gets our offense back out on the field plenty in this big game !!!…

    And back out on the field in very good field position at that….

    I am still calling out our defense and Allen Williams !!!…

    You guys have 4 more turnovers, coming from ints this season…I can feel it !!!

    I want at least one interception this Sunday !!!…Get it done boys !!!…

    A few fumble recoveries would be fine to help out those stat lines also !!!… :- )

  54. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I agree w muskyman now get out there and catch1 for me cuz i moved to california and sadly we don’t have any of those toothy critters out this way


    I guess they do in South Dakota ???…;: – )

  55. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    ha ha ha but I am a tournament Bass fisherman but I don still miss fishing back home.

  56. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    ;: — )>> ……..Ho Ho Ho !!!…

  57. By VikingFanatic209 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


  58. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder’s play in recent weeks has to have the Minnesota Vikings very concerned about the future at the quarterback position.

    Ponder was once again horrid against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. He finished the game with a 48 percent completion percentage to go along with one touchdown and two interceptions.

    What makes matters worse is the fact that Ponder has Adrian Peterson on his team and still can’t figure out how to win games. When your running back gains 210 yards and you lose, there are some major questions about just how good you really are.

  59. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Christian Ponder looks to be another first-round draft bust, continuing a tradition of quarterbacks picked early who fail to meet expectations. The only quarterback withtwo of the ten worst games of the season, Ponder has invited questions about his viability as a starter in the National Footb@ll League.

    With their Vikings hosting the division rival Chicago Bears this weekend, Minnesota fans have resigned themselves to a lost season, and it makes sense. At best, they have a seven percent chance of making the playoffs, and those efficiency metric-based scenarios require them to win at least three more games.

    All that in mind, it makes sense that the Vikings need to evaluate what needs to be done to prepare for next year. Regardless of Ponder’s performance in the Chicago game, his overall performance this year has been subpar. According to, he ranks 25th among all quarterbacks in p@sser rating, and 31st in the much more useful “adjusted-net-yards-per-attempt” metric.
    From there, it seems obvious that the Vikings should move on.

    But nothing is quite as simple as it originally seems. Ponder’s rookie year fits well within the normal range of successful quarterbacks. That is to say, successful quarterbacks often found themselves in similar or worse situations than Ponder, whose statistics were neither mind blowing nor depressing. As a rookie, he trailed the league’s average completion rate by 6.23 percent—well within normal range for first-year signal-callers.

    The rate at which he threw touchdowns was nearly identical to the league average, and his interception rate was only marginally worrisome. With an interception rate 1.69 percent higher than most p@ssers in the league, his rookie performance in this statistic matches the bottom end of successful quarterbacks for their rookie year.

    More revealing, however were his yards per attempt as a rookie. A full yard below league average, Ponder found himself in rare company among successful quarterbacks. Of the 98 successful quarterbacks surveyed, only one of them had a similar or worse yards per attempt (relative to league average) and could have been the biggest indicator that Ponder was a lost pick.

  60. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Nothing like fishing in MN!!! best state for it IMO. Only place that compares to it in my opinion is Canada

  61. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    That quarterback? Donovan McNabb. It seems Ponder picked up habits quickly. Still, if Ponder’s league trajectory is anything like McNabb’s, Vikings fans shouldn’t complain too much.

    Most important, however, is whether or not Ponder has improved in a big way. McNabb’s improvement was extraordinary in his second year—he improved in his relative p@sser rating by 20 percent, his relative yards per attempt by 23 percent and his completion rating by 31 percent. Only eight or nine quarterbacks improved more than McNabb did from year to year.

  62. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder’s improvement was not nearly so prodigious. With an upt i ck in p@sser rating of 12 percent, he nearly doubles the average improvement for quarterbacks (6.5 percent), but his change in yards per attempt was negative (negative eight percent compared to league average) and his adjusted net yards per attempt—which takes into account s@ck yards, interceptions and touchdowns—was below the average for second year quarterbacks, having increased by only six percent, compared to 9.3 percent overall.

    While Ponder’s career matches Troy Aikman’s early years in many ways (similar improvement scales and similar era-adjusted yards per attempt and p@sser rating), Ponder most closely matches the career of Kyle Boller.

    Boller threw fewer interceptions per p@ss, but also fewer touchdowns. But after adjusting for era, they threw the exact same number of yards per attempt and adjusted yards per attempt, while also posting very similar p@sser ratings.

    The question of whether or not Ponder’s career is going to be successful is a h@rd one to answer, but if history is any guide, it doesn’t seem likely. Only one quarterback who had a similar progression and went on to become successful was Troy Aikman. Ponder’s trajectory more closely resembles that of Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and DanPastorini.

  63. By scviking on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    i absolutely agree OT fans need to stop nitpicking split hairs while crying. believe in your team if you are a vik! maybe we have fun in a playoff game like the seahawks did last season. yeh we might not get what we ALL crave! the big W but its always a fun ride. GOTTA HAVE FAITH! last time i saw pessemistic babys get thier way uhhh never. cut pond a break. yeh hes not acting like the qb i desire but dangit he ok at best. give the boy a chance even until next yr! ill Try for sure

  64. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTK – you have an odd view of cause and effect.


    hahaha…Love it !!!…

    I agree !!!… ;-)

  65. By Mike B. on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    We have good fishing in South Dakota too.

  66. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


    Sounds like you love Musky fishing…

    As much as I do going after SLAB cra ppie !!!…:-)

    Life doesn’t get much better than that on the river for me !!!…

    But do go for the big battle with northern pike, down here in the tip of the boot of Minnesota !!!…

    Every so often I land a monster…But are few and far between…


    C’mon Wobbs…You can’t say Cr a p p i e ???…

  67. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    ESPN Insider went further, arguing that Christian Ponder is on an exclusive list of mediocrity. They used a metric called Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement, a measure created by Footb@ll Outsiders that combines first downs, s@cks, interceptions and the strength of opposing defenses to come up with a comprehensive statistic that measures performance against a replacement-level player (in most cases, replacement-level players perform at about 75 percent of an average player).

    Since 1991, every quarterback who has performed below replacement level (has a negative score) for two consecutive years ended up being a failure, with the exception of Alex Smith and Sam Bradford, who are still active.

  68. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    By Mike B. on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    We have good fishing in South Dakota too.


    I wasn’t knocking South Dakota fans earlier or there fishing…

    Just the “toothy” fairy…

    A little bit…:-)

  69. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    But there are more than just statistical arguments for why Ponder might be a failure; Ponder’s qualitative weaknesses are glaring.

    22 starts in, Ponder continues to read only half the field, a vestige of the Florida State system he played college b@ll in one which Jimbo Fisher has made a career of.

    While the young Vikings p@sser has displayed excellent poise and pocket awareness in some games— like the home game against Detroit and against Tennessee—he for the most part scrambles too early and doesn’t step up into the pocket.

  70. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    More than that, the criti cisms of his arm strength have come roa ring back. While per haps off when po inting to the de pth of his p@sses—that is more likely a pro blem @ssociated with decision-making and pl ay-ca lling—the a rc, spi ral and velo city of the b@ll in air have all been ca lled into question.

    He con tinues to scra mble unnec essarily, but is much more likely to step up in the po cket than he was last year. Still, his perfo rmance under pres sure has been su bpar. More than that, an extr aordinary amount of his yards come after the ca tch—the most in the league by a signi ficant ma rgin, at 57.7 percent. The next closest qua rterba ck is Ry an Fitzp atrick at 55.9 percent.

    These weren’t crit icisms lev eled against many of the qua rterbacks pu tting up similar numbers to Pon der, and the fact that he’s in the bo ttom fifth of p@ssers who put up 160 att empts in their rookie and sophom ore seasons speaks i ll of him.

  71. By GrandDaddyPurp on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


  72. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    And why isn’t ANYBODY…Talking about Mistral Raymond !!!!…

  73. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Kathy P….

    Fear not…

    Where there is a will…There is a way !!!…

    If Fitz, Spielman and Frazier will this trade…

    There are plenty of ways for Spielman to get the deal done….If there is interest from both parties involved ???…

  74. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    There’s definitely no way to get Fitz

  75. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Kluwe pays a few bucks this time for his opinion…

    To the tune of over $5,000+ dollars…

  76. By DogBoy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    What a bunch of idiots. Its all the same things you clowns were saying about the Bears game. In case you forgot, WE WON! The Purps will beat the Rams, we always do. Go back nigh nigh Tooth Fairy.

  77. By VikesFan on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Im confident the Vikings will win these last 3 games. We can all say this is not what we predicted after a 3-13 season so just appreciate how far we’ve come. Im too ready for Sunday! SKOOOL

  78. By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Mistral had a tackle Sunday.

  79. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder had 0 touchdowns

  80. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Mistral had a tackle Sunday.


    THERE is a Mistral Raymond sighting !!!!…
    OTK and Ozz are happy to finally see that !!!…hahaha…;-)

    Go Mistral !!!…..Go Vikings !!!….

  81. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    The interior linemen are not all that great, but they don’t really give up THAT much pressure. More often than note, Ponder scrambles from the pocket before there’s any pressure. His pocket is definitely cleaner than most pockets in the NFL by far. It’s not just sa ck stats, but he also has fewer pressures given up by his line than nearly any other line in the league per pa ss play.

  82. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    even if we won the last 3 games, there is no promise of a wildcard, i can see washington and seattle winning the last 3 games too, both have the tiebreaker over us. Ponder put us in this situation

  83. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Seattle will definitely win out so that puts us out of the playoffs

  84. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder putzed the playoffs away

  85. By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I can’t remember the last time I saw Ponder scramble to his left.

    If an armchair QB like me can spot that tendency…………..

  86. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    i believe we can have a great year next year as long as Ponder doesn’t start

  87. By Ponder AKA 3 and out on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    even the cowboys have the tiebreaker over us

  88. By Duane on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Too much talk. Put Webb in. Problem solved!

  89. By PAVikesFan30 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    U can just see it in Christian’s eyes during his press conferences. His eyes tell it all. He has zero confidence. He looks defeated. If Rick Spielman can’t see with his own set of eyes that Ponder is not the answer, then this franchise will continue to play at a mediocre level. Sometimes u have to check yourself, acknowledge our own stubbornness, and drop our ego and admit you made a mistake. That’s what has happened here. He made a mistake with drafting Ponder, particularly in the 1st round! The sooner he admits he made a mistake and moves on from it, the sooner we can get this franchise turned around. Peterson doesnt have many more great years ahead of him.

  90. By Gilberator on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Webb is injured I believe. Also he isn’t the answer. If he was, we wouldn’t have drafted Ponder in the 1st round. Grass isnt always greener on the other side. Webb is a fantastic athlete but not a QB in this type of NFL.

  91. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    @ OTK…

    Yeah Love is a good word for it I guess??? I think a better word however is obsessed!! and even that doesn’t really describe it fully.

    Yeah my wife could pretty much get away with anything in our marrige, but if she tried to tell me I can’t fish anymore, or she threw away my musky gear. I would be talking to a lawer the very next day. I know, I know it sounds bad, but that is probably the only thing that she could do to get me to fly off the deep end.

    Cr ap pie fishing is how i got into musky fishing. Just never looked back once I was hooked. And trust me I’m HOKKED!!!!

    Washington is going to be playing with their Other rookie QB is cousins this week I bet. If I was RGIII I would sit. RGIII may still play, but he would be smarter not to.

    Bryant has a broken index finger for Dallas. may be able to play, but he already has drop issues… What is a broken finger going to do to that problem?? It wont help thats for sure.

    Seattle is missing those two big Dfensive play makers due to suspensions. I don’t know if they can win in buffalo. A team that likes to pass a lot. BUF, is not ARI. Don’t look for SEA to put up 60 points again. This one will be close.

    If all of these teams lose, we have a fighting chance. Also need to hope that the bears beat the Packers to take them back down to a gmae in front of us instead of two. Not only that but who in their right mind wants the Packers to win. The bears are the lesser of two evils.

    We do have a chance… It can be done… But we need some serious help outside of our game!!!

  92. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


  93. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I agree 1,000% with Gilberator

  94. By elvis on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ahrighty fellas. Doesn’t matter what hawks do if bears drop 2, Boys n Skins drop 1, we win out. #6 baby. Even if we beat Rams, Texans will be stressful though. Get your pepcid a/c ready.

  95. By elvis on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Musky, we need Pack to beat Chi bro.

  96. By Rudso on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    VikesFan, Viking fans appreciate something?!?!?!? What are you talking about? Some of these “fans” will most likely b i t c h about the taxes they would have to pay if they won the lottery.

    I would LOVE to see the Vikings win a Super Bowl JUST so I can see what some fans will find to complain about.

  97. By elvis on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Actually, under the above scenario, the bears would only have to lose one as long as it were either GB or DET, we would have division-opponent breaker- our 4-2 vs. their 3-3.

  98. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    We still have a shot at the division..If the Packers lose the Bears game…

    I say we beat the Packers in the final game…One way or another…

    I think the Vikings win that last game of the season…And RUIN the Packers playoff hopes !!!…

    So don’t sell your tickets yet boys !!!…They will be worth a FORTUNE in a few weeks !!!…With Packer fans wanting to get inside OUR dome….Trying to root for those Puckers !!!…

    Keep as many cheeseheads out of our dome as possible…Or at least make them pay though the teeth to get in there !!!…hahahahaa…(evil laugh)…

  99. By Parkway on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I’d like to see Ponder somehow play worse just to see what some of these “fans” come up with for excuses for him and letting the other 52 men on the roster down.

  100. By elvis on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Hear ya OT, nothin’s worse than 25-35% of the dome filled with the pack.

  101. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Mike B— “we have big fish in SD too,”


    Yes but they are called CARP..Bottom fish like DogBoy.

  102. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    DogBoy time to go feed your brother.

  103. By Tooth Fairy on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012. Sure dream alot, don’t you. I will help you, by puting a dime under your pillow.

  104. By Kevin on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder is the best! You just wait…in three more years he will be lighting it up :)

  105. By northwoodsv2 on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Yup! Best darn french fry guy McDonalds has!

  106. By MuskyFever on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    @ Northwoodsv2.


  107. By Kathy P on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    At OT: My son just got back to the states from Afghanistan. AND guess what he has as a surprise awaiting him? TWO TICKETS TO THE MN/PACKERS GAME!!!!! He has been a die-hard fan since he was about 6yrs.old and he even asked to be stationed at Ft. McCoy (in Wisconsin) so he would be able to see a couple of games/year. I just wish I could be there at the same time but my heart will be with them all come gameday. I would love to have Fitz on this team also. Would they pay him? Would he want to even come to MN with the current status of you-know who? Boy, all I know is that there is going to have to be some aggressive moves made in the off-season for sure.

  108. By 4eversteve on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder has the ability, I’m just waiting for the light switch to come on and for him to realize it. In college he was able to use pump fake and play action pass and carry them out well in order to help neutralize aggressive opponents pass rushes, that being said he seems to have forgotten how to utilize those skills in the pros. I do however see improvement on pocket awareness and the ability to stay there. Now if they could only get him to set his feet before he throws the football he could dramatically cut down on his int’s. Learn to utilize the hard snap count as well as delayed snap counts in order to get defenses to expose there true defensive formation before the snap of the ball.

  109. By Ozzinator on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I just don’t understand why not more than one blogger is talking about that Mistral Raymond tackle on Sunday…….

  110. By sdvikefan on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply


    We, the positive fans are here, watching and waiting. I predicted on ESPN’s website that the Vikes would hold the Bears under 20. John Clayton assumed both the Vikes and Lions would lose so I HAD to set him straight on that.
    I am not going to make a prediction this week because, honestly, the Rams are one of the few teams I haven’t seen anything of. I will predict, however, that Coach will have the team ready to play. Once the guy gets out of the way of the barrel in post game pressers, he appears as his usual self. An intense, focused yet relaxed leader. Good news for the Viking players!!

  111. By Tomcat on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    Tooth Fairy- You go to the calm down corner until you can behave.

  112. By nowhereman on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve been a Vikes fan for 51 years…Yup, the whole time. If Christian Ponder starts next year and the Vikes don’t find a way to keep Harvin….I’m DONE!!! That will mean the management is content to waste Adrian’s career. Kevin, way too much “Kool Aid”, kid, in three years Ponder will be a back-up in the arena league!

  113. By Viking Fan in Chicago on Dec 13, 2012 | Reply

    It looks like the Vikings have a better shot at the playoffs now than the Bears because of last week…It still is a long shot but if the Vikings can win out it very plausable that the Bears are going to loose at least one game against either Green Bay at home or Detroit on the road. Regardless then what the Sea Hawks do. Also in this scenaro,
    I confident that the Skins and Cowboys will loose at least one game and if all this bears out the 6 th seed will be the Vikings……

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