Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coming Off the Ledge: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

Vikings-Seahawks Box Score (Yahoo!).

You can be forgiven if you think you are watching the '07 Vikings.
Through the first eight games of this season, Christian Ponder's first half stats have been modest at best: 8 games,  798 yards, 6.33 yards per attempt, 3 TDs. And today, as the FOX broadcast showed, the Vikings had 31 net pass yards in the first half.  This was en route to Ponder's 63 passing yards today.

This, even more than the defensive struggles (the early season was a mirage: the defense isn't good), is how the Vikings squandered Adrian Peterson's superhuman effort today (10.7 yards per rush, avoiding tacklers every which way, displaying such incredible vision and instincts and athleticism, looking like Gale Sayers cutting in the open field). They cannot throw the ball for squat. And that's why if 2012 matters, it may take something radical.

Free Joe Webb
If the Vikes are going to have games when they simply cannot gain passing yards, when they are completely inept at advancing the ball down the field with any sort of forward pass, when they simply cannot pick up first downs with anything resembling a downfield throw, then they need to do something radical. How much worse could they be with Joe Webb? He would be able to gain at least as many passing yards as Ponder has (I'd expect more), and he'd gain yards through the run.

What would benching Ponder for Webb this season mean for Viking QB future? Who the hell knows. But what does playing Ponder and watching him be entirely ineffectual mean for the team's QB future? Who the hell knows.

I still think the poor personnel at the wide receiver position is largely responsible for the struggles of the Viking passing game. But so what? If winning games in 2012 matters, and if the Vikes don't have WRs that can separate and catch, then that is all the more reason to put in a QB that is capable of gaining yardage without the help those wide receivers (they can help--they can downfield block).

I mean, in a game in which the Vikings were close but also down, and needed to be able to pass, they had 63 yards. When you try to forget that we've been through the Tarvaris Jackson era and got accustomed to the Vikings' inability to pass the ball, it starts to be absurd.

It starts to be untenable.



  1. AP is a beast!
    How can an NFL team be soooo bad at a passing game?
    QB is a weakness. WR is a weakness. Has been for several years.
    Gonna be a long 2nd half of the season.
    Defenses just don't have to even try that hard to stop the pass anymore.

  2. PO'd in Long BeachNovember 4, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    No doubt. That is exactly the point. Webb could not EVEN be worse and he's good for a break out run as often as Peterson, Harvin or RG3. Why do you annoint someone the starter who hasn't proved he can play, when the guy whose shown the most game is on the sideline? Wasting the career of Peterson and Harvin and all us Viking fans' time just to coddle this little c*nt. All time Viking low, the Vikings will continue to lose out the rest of year, and all f'ing off season we'll have to hear how they're sticking with Squander. I know who Percy wants. You could see him telling Frazier, " bullshit!!" I'm sure he wasn't talking about the blocking. FREE WEBB. FREE THE VIKING FANS.

  3. I was doing a lot of running around and so had to listen to the kfan broadcast. Within a span of about 30 minutes, Pete Burcic (sp?), clearly baffled about the passing game, 1) said Ponder was almost squatting low and waiting for the hit, even when he had time (then said Ponder was "seeing too much " of the rush, 2) said the receivers couldn't get open, 3) called the Vikings formations too bunched up and they "couldn't expect to go vertical if they don't send a receiver vertical, and 4) said the interior line was routinely getting badly beaten.

    In other words, either somethings wrong and he couldn't put his finger on it, or the entire passing offends is in shambles. At any rate, I wasn't feeling bad about missing the tv.

    Even team mouthpiece Paul Allen was basically saying Ponder looked like stink on ice. Burcic even at one point pointed out that Ponder had slant patterns open in the intermediate range but chose to throw too quickly underneath for minimal gains.

    Who knows? I agree Webb should at least get consideration. I'm not sire this is doing anyone any good.

    Now for a half-baked idea: Oregon coach Chip Kelly might be considering the nfl next year. There's a strong possibility he'll fail, but it's also salivating to think what he might be able to do with Harvin, AP, and Webb.


    1. Jianfu:

      The Fox team did show one replay (a play before before Ponder's weak deep pass attempt to a gimpy Harvin that resulted in an int) where Simpson was wide open in the deep middle of the field, but Ponder didn't even look his way and instead threw to a double-covered Jerome Simpson, I believe.

      As for the Chip Kelly idea. I don't watch college football much but I do know Oregon scores a helluva lot of points. Hiring college coaches seemed to be greaty frowned upon after the Saban and Petrino flameouts. But with the success Harbaugh's had – and to a much lesser degree even Pete Carroll and Greg Schiano, it will likely come back in vogue.

    2. Sorry, I meant to write Harvin was wide open in the deep middle of the field, not Simpson.

  4. I know it is way too early to give up...

    Watching Ponder is incredibly depressing, but do you think the GM will let them bench him? Frazier may do it next week in an act of desparation since he's probably gone either way. I can't believe they're going to waste 3 more years of prime Adrian Peterson on another bad QB. There is nothing about him that gives you any hope. Once teams get some film on him they completely neutralize him. Two years in a row. Bad sign.

    I agree that Webb gives us a better chance to win, but who cares if we win 7 or 8 games instead of 6? Ponder needs to be trotted out there and allowed to fail so that maybe management will give up on him after this year. I wouldn't even care that they drafted the wrong guy if they could just admit it this offseason. Stubbornly sticking with a high draft pick is much worse than missing on said pick in my opinion. Time for some competition.

    I have no hope, but it is still early in his career and he may turn it around. It's possible I guess.

    1. I'm in agreement here. I'd rather top out at five wins and know that we need a new QB then change back and forth and have it be a question. Especially since Ponder really did look like an NFL quality QB earlier this season. I don't know if it's confidence or if he really just can't play but we need a definitive answer.

    2. I'm always torn on this idea. I understand the sentiment, but I also sympathize with the Antoine Winfields of the world who put their physical livelihoods on the line to play. Doesn't seem fair to play it out solely to leave no doubt about a QB who's looking more and more out of his league. In a perfect world you'd like to trust the owner/management enough to evaluate accurately regardless of the context/wins. (I don't necessarily give this team's owner/gm the benefit of the doubt on that front, but what are you gonna do?)

      However, a 5 win season would mean a 10 game losing streak to end the year. coming off a 3 win season (and with Chilly's contract coming off the books), I think the changes would go beyond the QB. Wilf's fairly patient with his guys (maybe moreso now that the stadium's done), but I can't imagine even he'd stand for more of this.

      If that is the case, I can't say I'm terribly excited about the prospect given Wilf hasn't shown much in terms of hiring decisions on the coach/management side. But it could get curious if Andy Reid is let go. Wilf hired Childress, remember, because he admired the Eagles. It just turned out Childress was more Wisconsin Badger than Eagles. But who knows?


    3. Jianfu, Peder, ETR:

      Good points, all. As painful as it is to watch Ponder throw the ball right now - and as much as I can't see how a good NFL QB could look so bad so often - even early in his career, I think I'm in the "keep playing him camp."

      Starting Webb would give us a jolt of excitement. But once he starts wildly missing WRs on passes and team's figur out they can keep a spy on him to neutralize the run threat, we'll be right back where we are now.

      They've committed to Ponder. Stick with the plan this season and then reassess whether QB is still a need in the offseason (God, I hope not.) That won't be a popular answer among many Vikings fans right now, but I think it's still the right one with this team.

  5. This is the T Jack problem all over again. Joe Webb is not the answer, and will/should never be a starting QB in the NFL. The past has proven this.

    Ponder should have the job until a viable candidate comes along via draft or free agency. Good QBs are hard to come by, there are only a dozen or so teams that have truly established QB situations. Try, try, try again. Just don't prolong the obvious by benching him... he either has to work it out (unlikely) or run his rightful turn to its end and be gone or sitting next year, because we don't want "waste" another season watching this because "he didn't get enough starts"!