Pondering other optionsPublished 9:08am Monday, December 3, 2012
Column: Behind the Mic, Aaron Worm
Wow. That is all I could say after the game on Sunday. Not wow like that was amazing; wow, like I can’t believe we played that bad. I take that back, not we, but Ponder and the passing game. I know Packer fans are going to remind us all week, how their team beat our Vikings again (Pack have won five straight against the purple), but Packer fans I wouldn’t order your Super Bowl tickets. Green Bay wasn’t that good, the Vikings were just worse.
I have watched the replays of both Christian Ponder interceptions about a half a dozen times each, and I still have no idea what No. 7 was thinking. The first one was forcing a pass into the end zone on a second down play from the six. Michael Jenkins didn’t have a chance to catch it. The second one was a first down play from the Packer 25, and I counted four Packers right around the vicinity of tight end Kyle Rudolph. I know Ponder is still learning, but these are mistakes that cannot and should not be made. The first reception by a wide receiver wearing a white jersey was made with 2 minutes, 55 seconds to play in the game. I think I heard Joe Buck say on the broadcast, that the last time a team went without completing a pass to a wide receiver in a game was like 10 years ago. We were less than three minutes away from accomplishing that.
I don’t sit around and watch film from different angles over and over again like coaches do, so I don’t know what Ponder is seeing when he looks down field. In his defense, maybe guys aren’t getting open. Michael Jenkins has five receptions in the last four games. Jerome Simpson has 14 receptions in the seven games he’s played in. To put that in perspective Percy Harvin has 62 receptions in nine games and two games which he has double digit receptions. Let’s be honest, without No. 12, the passing game doesn’t really exist. You take Calvin Johnson away from the Lions, or Brandon Marshall away from the Bears, and their passing games would suffer too. Since Brett Favre retired again, and Sidney Rice left for Seattle, the Vikings are once again a quarterback and a deep threat receiver shy of being a legitimate playoff contender. (And there is no quarterback out there that Jared Allen can jump on a plane and get this time.)
Christian Ponder seems like a stand-up guy. I think he is a smart guy with a positive attitude and is working hard to get better. I would love to see him succeed. But there has been a lot of quarterbacks that have been drafted in the first round over the years, that have been bust, and maybe Ponder is in that group. I feel bad for Adrian Peterson, having an MVP year, but probably won’t win the award if the team doesn’t make the postseason. Coming off major knee surgery and leading the NFL in rushing, as he approaches 1,500 yards for the season is truly amazing. For the sake of AP, Allen and other veterans on the team, the Vikings need a quarterback to help them win now. But where do you find him? I still don’t believe Joe Webb is the answer or he would be playing. Drafting one won’t help, and if Joe Flacco resigns with Baltimore in the offseason, the free agency pool is very weak. I have two words for you: Tebow time. Might now be the answer, but sure would make things interesting.
KATE Radio Sports Director Aaron Worm’s column appears each week in the Tribune. He can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays on The Breeze.