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December 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs away from Green Bay Packers linebacker Erik Walden (93) at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings Week 13 Loss to the Packers

POSITION GRADES

Offensive Line

Grade: A

  • Sacks allowed – 0 sacks,0 yards

Zero sacks allowed is great right? But take this news with about the entire salt shaker because Clay Matthews was in street clothes. There was pressure on Ponder (although, there was a lot more in his mind, but we’ll get to that).

  • Rushing yards gained – 240 yards on 28 carries (8.6 yards/carry)

The Packers defense isn’t great to start with but take out two of their best players in Matthews and Charles Woodson and they could do nothing but get steamrolled on Sunday. Vikings fans can take solace in the fact that the Packers were solely focused on stopping the run and got blown up to the tune of 240 yards. Of course, the Packers were solely focused on stopping the run and the Vikings still couldn’t pass…so…

 

Wide Receiver

Grade: F

  • Jerome Simpson– 2 rec, 25 yards (7 targets)

    DEc 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (81) can

When Spielman signed Jerome Simpson, I’m sure he had visions of Simpson leading the wide receivers in receptions and yards. Although, I doubt this is what he had in mind.

After two great games to start the rookie’s career, he was overdue to come back down to average-Vikings-receiver-statistics (also known as “unemployed”).

Anyone notice that Jenkins doesn’t seem to get involved in the passing game until the end of the game? It’s almost like the coaching staff insists on playing Jerome Simpson for three quarters before they realize he is no good and put in Jenkins. And yet, each Sunday, we go through the same rigmarole.

 

Tight End

Grade: A

That one-handed catch with the left hand was incredible. Almost Randy Moss like. It’s painfully obvious that without Harvin, Rudolph is the only reliable threat in the passing game. Give him credit for still being productive when defenses can key in him.

 

Running Back

Grade: A+

  • Adrian Peterson – 21 carries, 210 yards, 10.0 yds/carry, 1 rec, 10 yards (2 targets)

That’s six straight games of 100+ yards for AD, a Vikings record. Truly incredible, this guy. He has 1,446 yards rushing this season. He is averaging 120.5 yards per game. Peterson needs to average 139 yards per game to break 2,000 yards and 165 yards per game to break the rushing record. It would be foolish to doubt he can do it, but if he doesn’t have the easiest matchup this Sunday against the Bears defense.

 

Quarterback

Grade: F

  • Christian Ponder – 12 for 25, 119 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, QB-Rating: 41.9, 6 carries, 28 yards

I’m tired.

I’m tired of defending him. Not because I’ve stopped believing in him (I haven’t) or because he keeps disappointing me (even though he does), it’s because my diatribes are falling on deaf ears. Christian Ponder is as rejected by fans almost as much as the last Viking to wear No. 7.

Here’s the problem, Vikings fans, ya’ll are so dejected as a whole by the collective disappointments of 50 years that as soon as a quarterback starts to make mistakes, you overreact and start talking about what a failure he was and how we need to find the quarterback of the future.

Ponder may be the guy, he may not be the guy. I don’t know – my guess is as good as yours. But I maintain that it’s too early to declare him a failure and move on. The kid’s played 23 games in his career. He’s had some good games and some bad games.

This was a bad game. Ponder had two picks in the red zone and that touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph should have been picked off as well (luckily for Ponder, the Packers weren’t looking as Ponder stared down Rudolph throughout his entire route before pulling the trigger into a sea of green and yellow).

Both of Ponder’s picks were game-changers. They killed good drives by the Vikings that could have kept us in that game. I’m not about to defend him on those throws. He shouldn’t have thrown them, simple as that.

But as a fanbase, we could be more understanding of Ponder’s play given his lack of experience (remember, this is only his second year – and he only played 11 games his rookie season after a lockout prevented him from attending any training camp his first year), the desperate lack of playmakers the Vikings have at wideout and Bill Musgrave’s presence as offensive coordinator.

Right now, Ponder doesn’t trust anyone to get open (because they don’t) and so he doesn’t go through his reads like he should. He runs out of the pocket often trying to create things that don’t need to be created. Ponder needs to stay in the pocket and avoid the rush instead of dropping back and immediately sprinting left to avoid a pass rusher that isn’t there. But would you want to stand in the pocket waiting for Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins to get open?

I keep hearing about how Ponder didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until late in the game. Well give him a real wide receiver, and I promise Ponder will throw to him.

PonderWatch

Ponder’s first and second down completion percentage goal75%

Weekly first and second down completion percentage:

  • Week 1 vs. Jacksonville: 17-20, 85%
  • Week 2 at Indianapolis: 17-22, 77%
  • Week 3 vs. San Francisco: 14-24, 58%
  • Week 4 at Detroit: 9-16, 56%
  • Week 5 vs. Tennessee: 21-28, 75%
  • Week 6 at Washington: 25-38, 66%
  • Week 7 vs. Arizona: 6-11, 55%
  • Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay: 14-23, 61%
  • Week 9 at Seattle: 9-17, 53%
  • Week 10 vs. Detroit: 16-22, 73%
  • Week 12 at Chicago: 11- 26, 42%
  • Week 13 at Green Bay: 10-18, 56%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 169-265, 64%

 

WEEK 13 OFFENSIVE MVP

Adrian Peterson

How does Adrian Peterson not show his frustration at the lack of talent on this team? He is easily the best back in the league and his career is being wasted. I believe the Vikings are on the uptick, but that rests squarely on Christian Ponder’s shoulders. As the Vikings consistently prove, there is no position in sports as important as the quarterback.

 

OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

Adrian Peterson’s 82-yard TD run

Credit John Carlson for his contribution Sunday. He didn’t quite fill his typical quota of 1 catch, 7 yards, but he did make the block (read: big-time hold) that sprung Adrian semi-loose on this 82-yard touchdown run.

Also, anyone notice that two Packers fans (literally wearing Packer gear) tried to high-five AD from the stands after this touchdown? He actually did it for the first guy. How do you think that went over in the stands for that guy the rest of the game? I’m not one for crazy fandom, but let’s just say it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if that guy had a few beers sprinkled on him throughout the rest of the game. That’s treason, brother. Not cool.

 

ROOKIE WATCH

Matt Kalil

Would have been a much better test against Clay Matthews, but Kalil had a strong game, anyway. I hope Matthews is back for Vikings/Packers in the Dome. Kalil v. Matthews will be a great matchup.

Jarius Wright

A one-catch game was a bump in the road for the rookie, and it’s not going to get easier going up against the Bears defense this coming Sunday.

Blair Walsh

Mr. Automatic missed his only field goal attempt (which was especially upsetting since it iced the game for the Pack). For the second straight game, Walsh also had zero touchbacks. I’m afraid the first-year kicker might still be used to the shorter college season.

·         vs. Det: 0/1 FGs, 0 touchbacks

·         YTD FG Percentage: 24-27, 89%

 

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!

On Sunday, Adrian Peterson recorded the fifth-highest rushing total for a player on a losing team.

Peterson has four of the Top 15 single-game rushing performances in the NFL this year (210, 182, 171 and 153).

The Vikings have the third-ranked rushing attack and the 32nd ranked passing attack

NFL teams are 57-3 when one player has over 200 yards rushing.

 

 

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  • Brian

    Even Packers fans know what they’re seeing when they watch Peterson run. History!