Minnesota Vikings 2012 Schedule
Photo By: Icon SMI
The Donovan McNabb experience tour turned out to be a value less than the price of admission in Minnesota, and by mid-season rookie Christian Ponder received his license to drive the Vikings offense. While Ponder continued to have problems staying on the field, once again in his career, I did like what I saw from the mobile quarterback.
Ponder was helped from the emergence of Percy Harvin in the second half of the year, after the team wisely decided it was best to use one of the few star talents they have in a part-time role.
Sadly, the driving force of this team suffered a terrible blow as Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in December, and may start the year in the PUP list. Being a PAC 12 fan, I watched a decent amount of Toby Gerhart’s games back at Standford, and I liked the way he played once they used a full back in front of him — let’s hope he continues that success this year.
Keeping game’s close, and properly using the running game to help Ponder or Joe Webb seems to be the way to win in Minnesota, at this time. With the addition of tight end John Carlson, expect the Vikings to use more two tight ends on the field (trendy move these days) which is a good thing because it appears Ponder is better suited for throws in the short to intermediate area, and in the middle of the field.
That’s not to say that I think Ponder has a weak arm, but he’s better off taking calculated shots down the field, and that tends to come when the defense has to read run keys.
For the game scripts to go that direction, the defense will have to play much better, especially against the quarterbacks they face in the NFC North being Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. That will be hard to do but maybe Minnesota will land Morris Claiborne, and if he can win in man coverage — as former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson did in the second half of last year — it would allow the defense to roll coverage to the other side of the field.