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Tag:Christian Ponder
Posted on: December 25, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Could Webb replace Ponder as Viking QB of future?

WebbBy Josh Katzowitz

Joe Webb has made a career so far of entering games when the starting quarterback is injured -- or making a spot start himself -- and impressing people enough for them to say he’s a legit NFL starting quarterback. Now, it seems as if he’s impressed his coach enough for Leslie Frazier to wonder if Webb might be the team’s quarterback of the future.

"Some of the things he does, man, and what it does to the rest of our team -- you can't ignore it," Frazier said, via ESPN 1500. "It's something we're going to take a real hard look at as we go forward. He definitely lifts our team. He's done it. He did it a season ago as well.”

After rookie Christian Ponder was knocked out of Saturday’s game with a concussion, Webb led the team on three scoring drives that helped surprise Washington and knock off the Redskins, 33-26. Webb, once again, showed how he’s a double threat by completing 4 of 5 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns and rushing four times for 34 yards. Combine that with his performance vs. the Lions a few weeks ago when he replaced Ponder with the Vikings losing by 17 and nearly led the team to a comeback victory, and you can see why Frazier might be having second thoughts about his starting quarterback.

On Saturday, Webb got some help from backup Toby Gerhart, who looked good while rushing for 109 yards on 11 carries after Adrian Peterson left the game with a torn ACL. But Webb has been showing his skill since last year when we quoted Frazier saying, “It'd be hard for me to say that I knew that Joe would play at such a high level so consistently.”

In terms of his ability to impress in short bursts, this year hasn’t been any different for Webb.

"Magic. He's gifted, man," receiver Percy Harvin said. "He's one of the gifted players that you can't describe. You can't practice it. Not too many teams got quarterbacks that can do what he does."

It’s clear that Webb’s teammates, especially Harvin apparently, have great confidence in the second-year player. But it’s hard to imagine that Frazier will turn the keys of his offense over to Webb anytime soon.

Remember, Ponder was the No. 12 pick last year. He signed a four-year $10.5 million contract that was fully guaranteed, so, we’re not talking Peterson-type money here. But it’d still be unusual to give up on a first-round pick after a rocky rookie season. Especially with the lockout preventing Ponder an offseason and with Donovan McNabb taking the team’s first six starts.

But assuming Ponder is out next week with his head injury, Webb should get the chance to start the season finale. And if he makes another spiffy performance, the rumblings about giving Webb more of a chance to take Ponder’s place permanently only will increase.

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Adrian Peterson suffers gruesome leg injury

Trainers look at AP after he suffered a horrible leg injury Sunday (AP)

By Will Brinson

UPDATE, via the AP: Peterson is scheduled for an MRI late Saturday after taking a direct hit to his left knee in Saturday's 33-26 win over the Washington Redskins. Coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson had a sprained knee and would be evaluated after the team returned to Minnesota. 

Peterson said he knew "it was something bad" the moment he was hit and that he was in "severe pain" on he lay on the field. He was hurt on a tackle by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes on a 3-yard gain on the first offensive play of the second half.

 On the next play, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was hurt when sacked by Adam Carriker and London Fletcher. Frazier said Ponder had "concussion-like symptoms" and will be reevaluated in the coming days.

-------

On the Vikings first drive of the third quarter, the worst possible thing for Minnesota happened, as Adrian Peterson suffered an absolutely brutal leg injury -- there is zero chance he'll return for the game against Washington.

As our Redskins Rapid Reporter John Keim points out, Peterson was carted off from the field and has actually already been ruled out.

Peterson took a handoff on first and 10 and cut back to the left side of the field. When Redskins rookie safety DeJon Gomes tackled him, Peterson's left leg caved in and he fell to the ground in obvious pain.

After trainers looked at the running back's leg, he was carted off from the field.

Things didn't get much better for the Vikings after that, as rookie quarterback Christian Ponder suffered a concussion -- he's out for the remainder of the game as well.
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Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Officials miss face-mask call, Lions beat Vikings

The no-call on this face mask ended the game and now Detroit is 8-5. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Lions are 8-5 after a wild finish to Sunday's game against the Vikings, and remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Detroit's modus operandi this season has been to get down early in games, usually by two or three scores, and look completely lost in the process. Then, as if they suddenly remembered how to play football, get it together in time to pull out the victory.

We saw it frequently during the Lions' 5-0 start, less so in their ensuring 2-5 stretch. Against Minnesota it was just the opposite: Detroit went up 21-0 in the first quarter, and then held on for dear life, eking out the victory, 34-28, after the officials missed a face mask as time expired.

The Vikings had a chance to win it on the game's final play, but a Joe Webb fumble and an uncalled Lions' face mask (see the photo above), ended things with Minnesota just one yard short of the end zone.

We'll be hearing all week about that face mask by linebacker DeAndre Levy, especially since a penalty would've given the Vikings one more shot from the Lions' half-yard-line.

But the play before, one that saw Webb rush for a first down, almost made Detroit linebacker Cliff Avril the goat. With no timeouts and with Webb scrambling to get his players to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock, Avril inexplicably jumped offsides stopping the clock in the process.

(We wonder if Avril's momentary lapse falls under head coach Jim Schwartz's zero-tolerance policy for stupid plays.)

But these aren't Matt Millen's Lions; this team was able to overcome mistakes and even got some breaks along the way. And with three weeks to go in the regular season, they're right in the thick of things.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:52 am
 

Adrian Peterson out, Christian Ponder starting

By Will Brinson

Well here's an odd combination for the Vikings on Sunday: running back Adrian Peterson is inactive against the Lions with a high ankle sprain, but rookie quarterback Christian Ponder will start despite dealing with a hip pointer.

Via our Vikings Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle, cornerback Chris Cook, linebacker Xavier Adibi, center Brandon Fusco, tackle DeMarcus Love, tight end Allen Reisner and defensive end D'Aundre Reed are also inactive for Minnesota.

Peterson's absence -- coupled with Ponder starting -- is odd because Ponder is understandably more effective (and safer!) when Peterson is available to carry the load against opposing defenses.

Instead, Toby Gerhart will get the nod as starter for the Vikings, and is likely to see a substantial number of carries on Sunday.

Joe Webb could also see plenty of action for the Vikings; if Ponder stumbles out of the gate and/or re-aggravates his hip injury, Webb will step in to take snaps for the Vikings.


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Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Donovan McNabb clears waivers, becomes free agent

Posted by Will Brinson



Despite a glaring need at quarterback on a number of playoff contenders, no one claimed recently-released quarterback Donovan McNabb on Friday.

McNabb, who reportedly asked for his release after being demoted, was supposed to draw interest from someone, like the Bears (currently starting Caleb Hanie) or the Texans (currently starting T.J. Yates), but instead passed through waivers, which makes him an unrestricted free agent.

Quite obviously, the limited upside that McNabb offers just wasn't worth the downside of picking up the rest of the quarterback's contract with a waiver claim and/or dealing with bringing McNabb into a backup situation that he probably wouldn't be happy with anyway.

McNabb could still sign with someone as a free agent, but Chicago seems like the only truly viable option for him, what with Houston inking Jake Delhomme recently.

Which means that this may be the end of the road, at least for now, for McNabb, who's impromptu live appearance on ESPN Thursday night may be the best predictor of what he'll be doing in 2012. He's now been demoted by three different teams and benched for Kevin Kolb, Rex Grossman and Christian Ponder in the span of two years.

The same team that just cut him, Minnesota, claimed Sage Rosenfels to take McNabb's place. Houston seems willing to roll with Jake Delhomme as Yates backup rather than taking a flier on McNabb. In other words, you don't need shades to stare at McNabb's future on the football field.

But hey, on the bright side, it's not like the Redskins, Eagles and Vikings -- 10 wins between them this year! -- are having a bunch of success this year.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:53 pm
 

Report: McNabb asked for release after demotion

McNabb was willing to backup Ponder, but not serve as Minnesota's scout team quarterback. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Donovan McNabb came to the Vikings in the offseason to not only get the team to the playoffs but to serve as a bridge to the Christian Ponder era. That all changed on October 23, when McNabb was officially benched and the Ponder moved to the top of the depth chart at least a year earlier than expected.

Apparently, McNabb was willing to serve as Ponder's backup even if that wasn't the plan when he arrived. But after being demoted to the scout team quarterback and falling behind Joe Webb, he asked for his release.

Details via 1500ESPN.com's Tom Pelissero:

"Multiple NFL sources told 1500ESPN.com on Friday that McNabb had been relegated to running the scout team in recent weeks, and it's believed he asked for his release after being informed he would be No. 3 on the depth chart for the rest of the season, beginning with Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

"The change meant McNabb, 35, would have had virtually no chance to get back on the field even if something happened to rookie Christian Ponder and he would have given up even more snaps in practice to second-year pro Joe Webb, who moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart."

Shortly after he was benched in October, rumors surfaced that McNabb showed up late and didn't know the offense. (He later refuted the speculation.) Pelissero writes that questions about McNabb's conditioning extend back to the preseason.

"According to sources, McNabb reported to training camp out of shape and had fallen further out of shape after his demotion. He seemed to acknowledge as much in an interview with ESPN on Thursday in which he said he wants to play and 'clearing the mind and getting the body back where it needs to be is the most important thing.'"

It wasn't long ago that McNabb was a top-10 quarterback who annually led the Eagles to the playoffs. Now, in the span of 15 months, he's been traded for and discarded by two mediocre teams that thought he could still play in the NFL. In 19 starts with the Redskins and Vikings dating back to 2010, McNabb completed 58.8 percent of his passes and threw 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Not Tyler Palko numbers, but also not what we were used to seeing from McNabb, either.

Put differently, as noted by PFT.com's Michael David Smith: "Three different coaches in the last 20 months have concluded that McNabb was the third-best quarterback on the roster."

So now McNabb's a man without a team. Whether that changes in the coming days remains to be seen, but even if he ends up on another NFL roster, it's clear that his best days are well behind him. Just something to keep when someone suggests that McNabb might be better for the Bears down the stretch than Caleb Hanie. We're not so sure.


After an overtime win last week over the Chargers, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos will travel to Mall of America Field to battle the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz take a look at this game.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 8:28 am
 

McNabb clearing head and seeing what's next

McNabb

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While the Vikings decision to waive Donovan McNabb came as a bit of a surprise, it’s what Donovan McNabb wanted. And after talking it over with coach Leslie Frazier, both sides agreed it was best for both parties to move in different directions.

With Christian Ponder taking over the starting quarterback role last month, McNabb took a seat on the bench and thought about the next step in his career. And ultimately he asked for his release so he could move onto the next phase of it.

“I felt the direction in the way that things were going, it was best for Christian and Joe (Webb) to continue developing to run the offense,” McNabb said on ESPN Thursday evening. “I just wanted to be the guy who tried to add that confidence or that spiritual advice. But I thought the best move for me at this particular point was to move on, clear my head and see what’s next.”

So, he’s not going to retire voluntarily, though it seems there’s a good chance nobody will claim him off the waiver wire. And if nobody wants to sign him, he’ll move on to something else.

“There’s always plan B, but I’m not focused on that right now,” McNabb said. “Clearing the mind and getting the body back where it needs to be is the most important thing. If anything were to happen, I have a career I can look back on and be very excited about it.”

The Bears obviously need some help at the quarterback spot, and though the Texans do as well, it sounds like Houston is not interested in McNabb’s services. Why should a GM look seriously at McNabb, though?

Well, let McNabb tell you.

“You bring a veteran who has great experience to the ball club,” he said. “Athletic ability, a guy who’s not a locker room cancer, a great work ethic and only wants to win. I’m a winner and I’ve proven that.

“Taking time is very important, although I’ve spent enough time resting so to speak in these last couple weeks. I am pretty fresh. But the thing about it is you have to focus your mind on being the guy back out there again.”

Whether anybody puts him in that position again, we’ll have to wait and see.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Packers D joins offense in Monday night rout

Posted by Will Brinson



Not breaking news: Aaron Rodgers is pretty awesome. Also not breaking: the Green Bay Packers are really good. They showed as much on Monday night by breaking out the whupping stick against the Vikings and beating Minnesota 45-7 at Lambeau to improve to 9-0 on the season.

Rodgers was nearly perfect (again) Monday, completing 23 of 30 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. The raw accumulation of his stats doesn't really tell the story, though, because Rodgers was out of the game with 10 minutes left, and backup Matt Flynn actually was perfect, going 2/2 for 38 yards a touchdown.

Week 10 Wrapup

The Packers defense is the bigger story though, because they were markedly improved from previous weeks -- defensive coordinator Dom Capers got aggressive after Christian Ponder, as Clay Matthews nearly matched his season total with a pair of sacks on the Vikings rookie quarterback.

Green Bay didn't allow a single point from Minnesota in the first half and Capers unit also limited Adrian Peterson to just 51 yards on 14 carries, although in fairness to Peterson's game, there wasn't really ever a chance for Minnesota to get their offense going, after Randall Cobb took a punt return 80 yards for a touchdown following Minnesota's three-and-out to start the game.

The only points the Packers did allow were a touchdown from Peterson that occurred only after Cobb muffed a punt in the third quarter, giving Minnesota the ball on Green Bay's 14-yard line.

Obviously the Vikings aren't the NFL's most elite offense, but as we've seen with other would-be teams around the league, it's possible to trip up against lesser opponents.

The Packers didn't flinch once, and judging by their decision to keep running passing plays out of the shotgun, inside Minnesota's red zone, while up 30-plus points, their only concern is winning every single game the rest of the season.

If the defense progresses like it did on Sunday over the next few games, that's a distinct possibility, because there's no reason to think the offense is going to slow down at any point.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com