Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings’ Week 7 Win Over the Cardinals



Offensive Line

Grade: D

  • Sacks allowed – 3 sacks, 15 yards

Ponder was under pressure all day long, and it was definitely getting in his head. The Vikings offensive line was struggling with blitz pickups and stunts, especially. Ponder’s escape-ability is one thing to note why there the Cardinals didn’t register more sacks. Another thing to note – Ponder only threw the ball 17 times and ran once. So out of 21 possible opportunities for a Cardinals sack, they finished with three. That’s how you make three sacks feel like seven, or in Ponder’s head on Sunday, 18.

Geoff Schwartz continues to sub in for Brandon Fusco at right guard. Interesting that they keep making these substitutions for just a series at a time. Not sure how either of them is supposed to succeed in that system.

  • Rushing yards gained – 166 yards on 27 carries (6.1 yards/carry)

Adrian was running all over the Cardinals and the offensive line deserves some credit, but Adrian broke a ton of tackles on Sunday. This stat would look much worse without an All-World RB. But Adrian’s huge day was enough to save the offensive line from the terrible stigma of getting an F on my report card – they would never live that down.

Wide Receiver

Oct 21, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Grade: D+

  • Percy Harvin – 4 rec, 37 yards (5 targets), 1 TD, 2 carries, 10 yards

When an opposing defense shuts down Percy Harvin, our offense takes a major step back to the days of Chilly and TJack. Bleh, I just got the chills.

Simpson looked fine early on. He again created a big play by drawing a pass interference penalty, but he disappeared shortly after and was nonexistent the rest of the way through.

It’s days like Sunday where you really notice the lack of quality depth at wide receiver.

Tight End

Grade: Incomplete

Not one of the Vikings tight ends caught a pass on Sunday. Not one. And only Rudolph was targeted, But he didn’t really have a fair shot either, as all of his targets were ridiculously inaccurate/uncatchable throws. I just don’t feel right giving the tight ends a grade without even one real chance to catch a ball.


Running Back

Oct 21, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) rushes for 8 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Grade: A+

  • Adrian Peterson – 23 carries, 153 yards, 6.7 yds/carry, 1 TD, 2 rec, 6 yards (4 targets)

Adrian found the end zone for the first time since Week 1, a rare TD drought AD. Peterson was a beast all day long running over the Cardinals defense. What makes this line even more impressive is how completely futile Christian Ponder was all game long. With Ponder struggling to badly, the Cardinals should have been able to hone in on stopping AP.

When it matters most, stars step up and carry the team. And the tone of this week would be a whole lot different if it wasn’t for AD.

This offense runs best when we don’t waste opportunities by giving the ball to Toby.



Grade: F

  • Christian Ponder – 8 for 17, 58 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, QB-Rating: 35.5 , 1 carry, 2 yards

Ponder has six interceptions in the last three games after having none in the first four. Luckily for him, Ponder’s mistakes haven’t been overtly costing the Vikings games. But you can bet the Vikings, with this pathetic passing display, would lose to any team in the league not starting John Skelton, not to take anything away from our defense.  Bottom line, the Vikings should have lost this game, and the person who deserves the brunt of the blame is Christian Ponder.

This is the kind of stat line that usually costs a QB his job. Luckily for Ponder, the Vikings are 5-2. The 58 yards is a fluke (he had 352 last week), but the turnovers are concerning. Ponder can’t continue to give the ball away when the Vikings start the second (and much tougher) half of their season with five big games against the NFC North.


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%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 109-159, 69%


Adrian Peterson

AD easily has his best game since his reconstructive knee surgery. Play after play, he was the only offensive Vikings player that was contributing anything positive to the game. He carried the Vikings offense to the checkered flag and finished the game off with a powerful eight-yard run on 4th and 5, a fitting end to a day that often felt like 1 vs. 11, Adrian Peterson against the Cardinals defense.


Adrian Peterson’s 22-yard run

Before breaking a few tackles en route to a 22-yard gain, Adrian had to dodge two would-be tacklers two yards in the backfield, making this run all the more impressive.

This run gave Peterson over 100 yards for the second time this season. It was the 29th time AD has ran for over 100 yards in his career, tying Robert Smith for the most in franchise history.


Matt Kalil

Kalil did a good job handling Sam Acho on Sunday, although he’s not getting any bragging rights for this one.

Blair Walsh

For the first time in Walsh’s professional career, he didn’t make at least one field goal in a game. Of course, he didn’t attempt any either.

vs Ari: 0/0 FGs, 3 touchbacks

YTD FG Percentage: 16-17, 94%


Leslie Frazier on the Vikings offensive struggles in the second half: “They’ve got a very good defense, one of the best defenses we’ll face.”

Ponder’s eight completions tied him for the fewest in Vikings history for a quarterback with at least 15 attempts in a game.

Ponder’s second half statistics: 1-7, 4 yards

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