Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears safety Major Wright (21) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) for a 2 yard gain in the second quarter at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings Week 14 Win Over the Bears

POSITION GRADES

Offensive Line

Grade: B-

  • Sacks allowed – 1 sack, 14 yards

Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tackle Phil Loadholt (71) reacts to a false start call against him in the game with the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Ponder was under a lot more pressure than this indicates, but that’s also do to the Bears stacking the line of scrimmage of 124 players on any given play in order to try and stop Adrian Peterson. There was a lot of action around the line of scrimmage and a few Bears slipped into the backfield untouched on some passing plays. Phil Loadholt had a terrible game. He was called for three false start penalties and gave up the lone sack on Ponder. Loadholt barely put a hand on Corey Wooten, who just simply ran around Loadholt for the quick sack. I guess Loadholt wanted to see how it felt to be like Randy Moss (both in terms of effort exuded and pass-blocking ability) for one play. Mission accomplished.

  • Rushing yards gained – 171 yards on 38 carries (4.5 yards/carry)

Even though the Bears stacked the line like the Vikings were playing without a quarterback, Adrian and the rushing offense still managed to put up respectable numbers.

∞ Sidenote: How many of you just screamed at your computer something along the lines of: “We ARE playing without a quarterback!” Well, you’re welcome. That was my Christmas gift to all the Negative-Nillie/Debbie Downers out there. And to answer your next question, sorry, I lost the gift receipt, but you might be able to get, like, store credit or something. 

 I’m not sure exactly what changed for the Bears, Adrian racked up almost half his yards on the first drive. He only ran for 29 yards in the second half. So either the Bears were a little groggy from the flight to Minneapolis or they were hell-bent on stopping this Ponder kid who’s taking the league by storm and forgot about that Peterson guy. Hmm, your guess is as good as mine.

 

Wide Receiver

Grade: F

Jenkins made a couple tough catches in traffic and was Ponder’s go-to man on third downs..you know..when Ponder actually threw it on third downs..

He’s officially come back down to earth. Hopefully those first two games won’t be the highlight of his career.

On the bright side, we probably only have to watch him for another three games.

Nice catch with your shoulder pads…ugh, I don’t even want to talk about it. This says it all.

 

Tight End

Grade:  F

Because of all the 8-9 man fronts the Vikings were facing, Rudolph stayed in to block, but not enough to justify this line, another game where Rudolph completely disappeared. Without any other threats in the passing game, defenses have really been keying in on Rudolph, but he needs to find ways to get open. He has the talent to lead this team and he has a quarterback who rarely throws the ball past 10 yards – It’s odd they don’t connect more.

Rhett Ellison isn’t out there to catch passes, he’s out there to block, and my man’s good at blocking. I’m sure you all remember that deep ball to Aromashodu for two reasons:

  1.  Ponder actually threw an accurate deep ball(!)
  2.  Aromashodu showed (once again) why he shouldn’t be on an NFL roster

 

What you may not have noticed is Ellison’s epic block on Lance Briggs to save that play from total disaster. After the ball is snapped and Ponder trips backward, John Sullivan and Brandon Fusco split to take a man to their respective outsides, failing to block the blitzing potential Hall of Famer. Ellison realizes their mistake and dives from behind Ponder to knock Briggs to the ground just before he crushes our quarterback. It was a truly incredible play.

 

 

Running Back

Grade: A+

  • Adrian Peterson – 31 carries, 154 yards, 5.0 yds/carry, 2 TDs, 2 rec, 16 yards (2 targets)

It’s odd that 154 yards could seem disappointing, but the way Adrian started the game (69 yards on the first drive, 104 yards on 12 carries in the first quarter, it made you think he might break the rushing record.

 

Well, it made me think that anyway..

Still a great game by AD, though. He carried the team (again) when there was basically no production from any other part of the offense (again). It’s a true testament to how good this guy is when defenses are putting nine men in the box and still can’t stop Peterson from gaining five yards per clip.

 

Quarterback

Grade: D+

  • Christian Ponder – 11 for 17, 91 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, QB-Rating: 53.8, 4 carries, 0 yards

I know ya’ll are hung up on 91 yards, and I hear you. That’s not enough production for an NFL quarterback. But this was actually a slightly better game for Ponder than he’s been putting out there in recent weeks. Yes, he was going up against a defense solely focused on stopping the run, but that’s true every week. Yes, he didn’t throw any touchdowns, but he had zero passes in the red zone compared to Adrian’s five runs.

Ponder did have an ugly interception on another one of his patented didn’t-step-into-the-deep-ball-throws that fall about 10-15 yards short of the target and are intercepted like a punt return. It’s those throws that make fans believe he’s not the answer, and maybe he’s not. But he has strokes of genius along with his facepalm moments.

Ponder  was 6-for-7 on third downs against the Bears converting four first downs. The Vikings gameplan is ultra conservative, especially when they are winning by two touchdowns, so Ponder didn’t get many opportunities to light up the scoreboard (I know, I know, “for the other team.”). But when Ponder was entrusted with the ball on third downs, he performed well. That has to count for something.

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%
  • Week 14 vs. Chicago: 5-10, 50%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 174-275, 63%

 

WEEK 14 OFFENSIVE MVP

Adrian Peterson

AD has 1,600 yards rushing this season. He has to average 134 yards per game to finish over 2,000 yards and 169 yards per game to break the single-season rushing record.

 

OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

Adrian Peterson’s 51-yard run

Adrian gained 69 yards on the ground on the first drive of the game. AD’s running swung the momentum toward the Vikings and got the crowd into it early. The Vikings never relinquished the lead from their opening series touchdown. All thanks to Peterson.

 

ROOKIE WATCH

Matt Kalil

Loadholt’s bad game just emphasizes how good Kalil is.

Jarius Wright

Three games left to prove yourself, Jarius. Feel free to step up and blow us away.

Blair Walsh

That’s three straight games without a touchback.

·         vs. Chi: 0/0 FGs, 0 touchbacks

·         YTD FG Percentage: 24-27, 89%

 

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!

It took Adrian just 12 runs to go over 100 yards against the Bears on Sunday.

Peterson leads the NFL in yards after contact with 874; Doug Martin is second with 674.

Over the last seven games, Peterson has more rushing yards (1,101) than Ponder has passing yards (962).

Peterson is only the 12th player in NFL history with multiple 1,600-yard rushing seasons.

 

 

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