If you were watching Christian Ponder during Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, you could probably identify the fear, discomfort, and wariness about him without me having to mention it. But really, does it matter how uneasy he appears if he’s completing passes and winning football games? Unfortunately, he hasn’t been doing either lately, and anyone with a clue about the game can just check the stats and understand, such as 63 yards in 22 passing attempts. Ouch. This was Ponder’s third game of the season producing 100 passing yards or less. To put that into perspective, that’s one-third of the season. It’s almost impossible to post ratings so low, and just as equally as difficult to watch as a Vikings’ fan. So what exactly is the problem?
Is it Ponder’s lack of confidence as a 2nd year quarterback? Is it Frazier and the offensive coordinators not calling the right plays at the right time? Is it the receivers not getting open? To be honest, I don’t really care which one it is or if it’s all three. Something has got to change because like most Vikings’ fans, it is getting more and more painful for me to watch easy opportunities go to waste and the 4-1 season we once had gradually slipping away to an outcome too much like last year.
I think it’s safe to say Percy Harvin agrees after being seen screaming at Frazier on the sidelines Sunday when Ponder missed him on a simple bubble scream throw that could’ve been a touchdown. Although claiming it was merely a reaction “in the heat of the battle,” I found myself and other fans yelling at the TV in the same fashion, despite being quite far from the middle of the action. As one of NFL’s most productive players this season, he has a right to be frustrated, and now add on a bad ankle sprain that leaves him questionable for Sunday’s game against Detroit, and the depression deepens for everyone.
However, even Percy claims, “We’re all confident we can turn this thing around.” And boy, do I hope he’s right. According to Frazier, he has no intention of benching Ponder which at this point is good news for Ponder, but not really sure for who else. He attributes silly incompletions like the one to Harvin on Ponder’s footwork. “For whatever reason, the ball sailed on him. Got to get his feet set. Got to make that throw,” Frazier said. Well if that’s the main problem then hopefully it’ll be an easy fix, and sooner rather than later would be nice. It’s just a shame to watch performances like Peterson’s 182 yards rushing and two touchdowns or Walsh’s monster 55 yarder go to waste in a poor outcome, but performances like these make it even clearer where the Vikings’ offensive problems lie.
Perhaps, we are putting a tad too much blame on the poor guy, since the Vikings’ defense didn’t have one of its better showings this week either, giving up 385 yards to the Seahawks. Ponder’s rebuttal reminded everyone of the beginning of the season where completing passes wasn’t such an impossible feat (a time I can hardly remember), and showed confidence that he will get there again. “I just have to do a better job at getting the ball in their hands. This team isn’t one-dimensional. The offense isn’t one-dimensional.”
I guess at this point, I’ll have to take Ponder’s word for it and just keep on routing for the guy because it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere. We can only hope his ambivalence does.