The Vikings were clearly trying to establish their running game early with Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart and Percy Harvin running the ball five of the first six plays, but the offense stalled repeatedly. In the first three drives of their 26-23 overtime win, the Vikings only mustered one first down – a 15-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph on the first play of the game – and their first four drives all ended with punts.
And then it quickly turned around.
Ponder hit Harvin on three consecutive short passes that ended up gaining a combined 32 yards and suddenly the plodding pace and success rate of the offense turned around.
"It's just an attitude, I think, mentally just telling myself I've got to go out and play aggressively and play almost mad. Just go out there and play with that sense of urgency," Ponder said.
"Just play with a relentlessness. After those first couple of drives, I was mad I missed a couple throws. I just said, ‘I'm going to go out here and throw the ball and make plays.' It was almost like playing mad."
Down 9-0, the Vikings got the ball back with 2:28 to play in the first half when Ponder found a rhythm on the way to the highest passer rating of his career. After starting out 3-for-6, Ponder connected on all four of his passes on the way to the Vikings' first touchdown as they went 59 yards in one minute, 47 seconds.
"With our no-huddle, it can be a very fast-paced offense but also we can slow it down and make sure we try to get in the right play," Ponder said. "That's something we're still trying to implement in this offense."
On Monday, Ponder said he needed to change his approach.
"I think I changed my whole mindset. I'm just going to go out and throw the ball and not be hesitant, kind of create that sense of urgency where we need to score, otherwise we're not going to win this game," he said.
After his early struggles, Ponder was getting booed, something he said he deserved, but it didn't take him long to turn it around.
He finished the game 20-for-27 or 270 yards and a 105.5 rating.
FORMER VIKINGS GETTING TRYOUTS
Several former Vikings got tryouts around the league earlier this week, according to Scout.com:
Walsh is the first rookie kicker in Vikings history to win the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. Ryan Longwell is the last Vikings kicker to win the award, in 2008, and he won it twice. Other Vikings kickers to win the award are: Fuad Reveiz (twice), Gary Anderson (four times) and Eddie Murray.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.