Christian Ponder (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
The Vikings are searching for answers to what troubles their passing game, but QB Christian Ponder said nothing specifically stands out to him about what is wrong.
When the Vikings got off to a 4-1 start, there was a lot of credit being thrown the way of quarterback Christian Ponder. Conversely, as the Vikings have lost three of their last four games, blame has been thrown Ponder’s way. As the Vikings prepare for the Detroit Lions Sunday, Ponder is under the microscope once again.
Nobody has been as frustrated with his struggles as Ponder. If it was something obvious that was a correctable problem, Ponder would be able to fix it. But he said there isn’t a glaring issue that can be changed. It’s more about making plays when they present themselves, something that has been missing the last few weeks.
“Obviously, I can play better,” Ponder said. “I don’t know if there are any specific things that jump out at me. It just goes back to execution and my execution just has to pick up. We know that’s important for this week for such a big game, but nothing really specific has jumped out at me.”
Ponder downplayed an ongoing knee injury as playing a role in his recent struggles. He said his poor passing performance – 44 total net yards – had nothing to do with that. Asked if there is any frustration or finger pointing in the locker room, he dismissed that notion as well.
“No, not at all,” Ponder said. “We have a lot of character on this team and a lot of great leaders. There has been absolutely no finger pointing.”
As difficult as Ponder’s October was, starting November potentially without leading receiving Percy Harvin could be even more of a problem. However, Ponder said the Vikings have to work through the issues in the passing game with or without Harvin.
“Obviously, we want him in, but, if not, I don’t know if we’re going to have Jarius Wright (active), but we’ll have guys step in and we can do without him. We’ll find ways to win. That’s stuff with Bill (Musgrave, offensive coordinator) and how he is going to devise his game plan without him, but we’ll be fine.”
Ponder believes the Vikings can pull out of their current tailspin and, despite losing the faith of many fans, his teammates remain firmly behind him. As Kyle Rudolph pointed out, it isn’t all Ponder’s fault.
“Christian is the type of guy that takes a lot of responsibility on himself, as all great leaders and quarterbacks do,” Rudolph said. “Myself and a few of the other guys who are close to Christian just have to relate to him, ‘Hey man, it’s not always you.’ As a quarterback, you take all the glory and you take all the blame. We’ve to take some of that from Christian as well.”
Harvin (ankle) and Letroy Guion (foot) were the only Vikings that didn’t participate in practice Wednesday. Antoine Winfield (knee), Matt Kalil (knee) and Jerome Felton (shoulder) were limited.
John Carlson, who has been sidelined the last month with a concussion, was a full participant in practice.
Seven Lions missed practice Wednesday, including starters Cliff Avril, Louis Delmas, Calvin Johnson, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Titus Young.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.