To read Pacifist Viking's take on another brutal Minnesota Vikings performance, click here.
The Vikings issues, shortcomings, problems, whatever you want to call them, have been discussed plenty since the team lost 31-27 to Cleveland. I have no interest in covering old ground.
But here is an interesting factoid. The Star Tribune's Chip Scroggins tweeted today that Minnesota and Jacksonville are the only NFL teams whose wide receivers haven't caught a touchdown pass.
This isn't good news. Jacksonville is a horrible team with horrible quarterbacks. If the Vikings are tied with the Jaguars in this category, they must be a horrible team with horrible quarterbacks. This is something you don't want admit, because you know the Vikings drafted a guy in the first round of the 2011 draft with the intention of having him develop into THE MAN and if he isn't THE MAN things could be rough for Minnesota until they find someone who is THE MAN - however long that takes. So you say, 'Big deal. It's only three games. Small sample size.' Except for the fact that in 2012 Vikings WRs caught eight TD passes. Only Miami (3) and Kansas City (5) WRs caught fewer TD passes. Houston WRs tied the Vikings for the 3rd lowest total.
Last year, we could have chalked this up to the fact the Vikes WRs weren't very good besides Percy Harvin. But this year the talent appears to be improved over what the team had in 2012. Jerome Simpson is healthy. Jarius Wright is a year older and wiser. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson has been productive - when he's been used, which hasn't been often enough. And in Greg Jennings, the Vikings have a player who has 53 career touchdown catches and has caught 12 in a season twice.
But WRs can't make catches if their quarterback doesn't get them the ball. And after 29 starts in two-plus seasons, Christian Ponder has shown he can't get them the ball. This really sinks in every time the Vikings get inside their opponents 20 yard line. This should be a time where I feel good. Yes! We are going to score here! We're going to put this team away!
However, I never feel this way. I never feel this way because Ponder isn't patient enough or can't see the field well enough, and so he can't find anyone open beyond the first option he's supposed to throw to. If that's taken away from him, bad things happen. And because he's not accurate enough often enough, he sometimes can't hit that guy even when he's open (witness the slight overthrow of Joe Webb in the end zone during the Vikings drive late in the third quarter. Yeah, a better WR - or a guy who hadn't been converted from quarterback to WR this offseason - probably catches that. But a good QB would have lofted that pass softly into the WRs waiting hands.)
Ponder's bad quarterbacking - I think - makes the Vikings easy to defend in the red zone. Opposing defenses only have to worry about a few things - a hand off to Adrian Peterson, some sort of jump ball situation to Kyle Rudolph, and after the Cleveland game, I suppose they also have to watch out for a designed quarterback sneak when the Vikings somehow manage to get the defense spread out. (Watch offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave overuse this play now that it worked twice against the Browns.)
Bu that's about it. Ponder doesn't force opponents to worry about anything else. They can defend a couple of threats and be confident that if they do that, Ponder won't be able to beat them if he has to go to Plan B. Because of Ponder's shortcomings, Vikings fans are three games into the 2013 NFL season and we're already on the Ted Bridgewater and Johnny Football watch.
Is it May 8th yet?