The Minnesota Vikings have hit rock bottom, but that doesn’t mean the knives have been pulled out yet. Adrian Peterson, maybe the only part of this team that avoids getting criticized by the fans, is still standing up for his quarterback Christian Ponder, even if every week seems like one step closer for him towards getting benched.
The Vikings are 0-3, losing two consecutive games after holding the lead in the fourth quarter. There are more things to complain about than just Ponder. The defense has allowed winning touchdowns in the final minutes of the game for two consecutive weeks, which means the Vikings are doing something right up to a point.
Ponder isn’t getting the protection he needs, as he was sacked six times by the excellent front seven of the Cleveland Browns, which also means Adrian Peterson (with 88 yards on 25 carries) isn’t getting the holes he needs to punch through as well.
But the fingers are pointed at Ponder, as to a lesser extent during games, Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave, the offensive coordinator. Ponder has already thrown five interceptions this season and fumbled the ball two more times, but the Vikings haven’t been blown out of games and are probably a bit better than their record suggests.
However, the heroics of last season won’t be returning. Adrian Peterson can’t face eight-in-the-box defenses every week and expect to break a rushing record or even reach 100 yards. Ponder doesn’t have the best receiving crew in the land, but the combination of the play calling and his execution, not to mention the offensive line that can’t block, results in a quarterback that’s more busy running from the sack than completing the play.
The chorus of boos heard for Ponder during his less impressive moments (and there were quite a few) in the home loss to the Browns did unsettle the quarterback, but it also made Adrian Peterson quite angry.
I got his back. He scored two touchdowns and kept us in the game. They were cheering him when he scored and booing him when a pass wasn’t as good as they wanted it.
Ponder running for two touchdowns isn’t going to quiet the criticism or the fans. He isn’t someone who is going to win games with his legs, but so far, his passing hasn’t been good enough. Not this season, and not since the beginning of his career, only so far the defense or Adrian Peterson haven’t been good enough to let him get away with it.