Christian Ponder Finishes Game, Vikings Still Hold On 41-28 Over Falcons


Nothing good can come the Vikings’ way without some kind of negative note sneaking in there. The Vikings beat up the Falcons on the scoreboard 41-28 Sunday, but there were plenty of negative notes.

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The biggest, ugliest negative was the injury to Teddy Bridgewater. The rookie QB was having a very strong day when he hurt his ankle on a run and was forced to leave the field on a cart.

The good news is that x-rays came back negative and Bridgewater is reported to only be suffering from a sprain. Still, the sight of Christian Ponder finishing out the game at QB did not exactly do a lot to inspire happiness in fans.

Thankfully the Vikings were well in control of the game by the time Ponder was forced to come in. Things didn’t look so rosy earlier when the Falcons were tearing up the Vikings’ defense and scoring seemingly at will.

Huge defensive breakdowns plagued the Vikings throughout the first half and third quarter. Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton were primary offenders as the Falcons rolled up 28 points on Mike Zimmer’s D.

Truth be told, the Vikings’ D never did truly stop the Falcons. Atlanta simply did not have the horses on the offensive line to finish out the game. Injuries piled up so much it forced Atlanta to go to a tight end at right tackle. The Falcons were forced to go to a conservative game plan with the line banged up and it severely limited their ability to stage a comeback.

The Vikings eventually were able to make a few big plays on D, the two biggest being a sack by Anthony Barr and later a game-sealing INT by Harrison Smith. It’s no surprise to see those two men making the biggest plays of the game as they have been the Vikings’ two most consistent and best defensive players all year.

The Vikings also got decent work out of Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson. If the Vikings could clean up the massive fails on third down, and stop allowing players like Devin Hester to gash them for big plays, they would have a decent defense.

Offensively, it was the Teddy Bridgewater/Jarius Wright/Jerick McKinnon show for much of the day, with solid contributions from Matt Asiata and Greg Jennings as well.

Bridgewater minimized mistakes and made some things happen by keeping plays alive with his elusiveness. He also rushed for a TD. The Vikings run game made mince meat out of a very suspect Falcons defense all day, especially up the middle with Asiata and McKinnon.

The Falcons’ defensive ineptitude coupled with the Vikings’ ability to protect the ball really told the story. Defensively, the Vikes showed massive vulnerabilities, but when the game was on the line their playmakers stepped up.

A good home win, but still, a little sour taste with Bridgewater getting hurt and the D getting exposed at times. Mike Zimmer at least knows what he has to work on. He needs to get more consistent push out of his defensive line, that’s for sure. And he needs better work out of the back end of his defense, especially on third down.