It has not been fun watching the Vikings try to win games without a quarterback or a wide receiver.
Christian Ponder is not good. It is completely accurate to say that the Vikings do not have any wide receivers who are helping Ponder out with separation or playmaking. Aside from Percy Harvin, would a single Viking WR make the roster of any other NFC North team? But that does not excuse Ponder's problems with accuracy (he's erratic short, medium, and long), his poor decision making, or his poor pocket presence.
Ponder has not played well enough to remain the starter. What's more, I still say the absence of quality wide receivers itself speaks to giving Joe Webb a shot. He can pick up more yardage running than Ponder can, and he's got a stronger arm, giving him a chance to at least try some downfield completions (yes, the WRs still suck, but if a team is completing a low percentage of its passes, it may as well try chuck it deep and get the most out of those passes it can complete).
I want to see what this team can do with Joe Webb. Leave tomorrow's worries for tomorrow: if the Vikings want to go into 2013 giving Christian Ponder better WRs and another chance, they can go nuts. But right now, the passing game is absolutely inept, and needs a change. Furthermore, the Vikings can learn more about what to do with Joe Webb. If he's not good enough, the Vikes either need a different 2013 starter or a different 2013 backup to Ponder.
Free Joe Webb!
In Praise of Adrian Peterson
The Vikes went into Lambeau and hung with the Packers largely thanks to the heroism of Adrian Peterson, and as has happened often enough during Peterson's career, his heroics were not enough. In Salon this week, Laura Miller wrote of the tragic ending:
"we have such a hard time seeing what’s affirmative about the best tragedies. They show us that a great spirit is still great even when it doesn’t win, that aspiration, courage and hope, however doomed, are virtues in their own right."
This has become Adrian Peterson's season. He didn't win today, but his performance, his determination and his sheer greatness, becomes its own affirmation. We can admire him in defeat as much as we would admire him in victory, perhaps more, as it is so obvious that opposing defenses do not need to account for anything but Peterson.
Adrian Peterson is now, in my view, the best running back in franchise history, and he continues to have his career season: he churns out yards with power, determination, and toughness, and he breaks out for explosive runs with speed, agility, and vision. It is not the first time Adrian Peterson has been dragging a team into competitiveness despite its passing game--with any luck, it will be the last.