This weekend Minnesota Vikings fans are desperate to see if newly appointed starting quarterback Christian Ponder can pick up where Donovan McNabb left off. The Vikings season to this point has been a complete disaster with only one win to their credit and five losses to some of the more mediocre teams in the league. Although every professional athlete must begin their start at some point, it is quite the daunting task to try and match arguably the top ranked team in the Green Bay Packers. Certainly Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will figure in a large part of the plan to help ease the pressure on Ponder. The problem is that Peterson is having a good year but not an especially outstanding year running the football. Over the past three games Minnesota is averaging just over 125 yards per game which is a respectable number but the quality of their opposition has been far below the quality of the Green Bay Packers. While the Packers have been giving up over 100 yards per game over the last three, you have to figure that with the rate their offense has been scoring they’re relatively content to allow teams to try and chip away with a running attack.
As well, the Green Bay defence is greatly acclaimed in making adjustments to bring a halt to their opponent’s offense. This doesn’t bode well for a Vikings team that has actually played reasonably well in the first half of games so far this year, only to completely crumble as adjustments are made against them. I get the sense that any success Christian Ponder has in leading the Vikings offense will more than be reversed once the Packers make their adjustments and really scramble their defense up to rattle the rookie quarterback. Given the rate of production that the Aaron Rodgers led offense has had this year it really doesn’t seem realistic to expect Ponder to come close to matching them.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier basically gave his fans hope for the future when he stated that Ponder would be the starter for the rest of this season’s games. Fans were sick of seeing Donovan McNabb fail to execute and were demanding a change, if only for change’s sake. It’s obvious at this point that McNabb no longer possesses the skills to even keep the team’s playoff hopes afloat so the conclusion is that Ponder must be rushed into action. The Vikings would have loved to give Ponder greater time to learn and gain experience but the necessities of running a football organization as a profitable business ruled that option out. Perhaps most troubling for Vikings fans is the fact that the offensive line allowed five sacks last week against Chicago and has lost two starting players due to injury. As Vikings coach Leslie Frazier stated, “we’ll have to juggle some parts and get guys ready to play.” This certainly isn’t a statement that would fill most people with confidence at the Vikings chances. Although the Packers’ defence ranks 23rd in the league with 20.5 points allowed per game they are rated second with 11 interceptions. Expect Christian Ponder and company to see a variety of confounding looks this weekend, as the Packers offense continues to roll.
Play: Take the Green Bay Packers at -9 over the Minnesota Vikings (BetOnline.com)
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Written by Greg Smith