Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier say Christian Ponder not only problem
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN --The Vikings leave Monday night for a week in London, where they'll serve as ambassadors for the NFL before "hosting" the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
There are many questions circling the team, after it lost what should have been a slum-dunk victory over the Cleveland Browns. And yet, one question looms above the rest, as it did before the season began: is Christian Ponder a capable starting NFL quarterback?
Well, Adrian Peterson seems to think so.
He came to the quarterback's defense following Sunday's game, during which fans booed loudly and chanted for backup quarterback Matt Cassel.
"It happens," Peterson said of the vocal fans at Sunday's. "I didn't really think too much of it. I got his [Ponder's] back. He scored two touchdowns and kept us in this game. They were cheering him when he scored and booing him when the pass wasn't that accurate or as good as they wanted it. That's what you get, so you've got to fight through that as well."
Quarterback, of course, is not the only area in which the Vikings struggled. Offensive line, defensive backs and the pass rush all were weaknesses Sunday. Head coach Leslie Frazier said on Sunday he didn't foresee making a change at quarterback this week and on Monday pointed out some of the good things Ponder did.
"He made some plays for us yesterday that we needed. There were some other plays that we needed to make that we didn't always get," Frazier said. "But he'll have to keep growing and keep developing. We're doing enough things that are not right across the board that are affecting our won-loss record, and it's not just the quarterback position. He has to play better, but so do some other groups on our football team. I don't think where we are is necessarily purely because of Christian Ponder."
And yet, even with all the lapses Sunday, the Vikings had several opportunities late in the game to seal a victory. Two offensive drives late in the fourth quarter stalled, when the Vikings were hoping to bleed some time off the clock.
"It hurt us a lot offensively," Peterson said Sunday of multiple three-and-out series in the fourth quarter. "When we talk about creating drives and putting points on the board, to have those opportunities and not capitalize - I don't feel like we as an offense did a great job today. We made some plays but we weren't able to make enough, especially when it counted most."
"It definitely makes it more frustrating when it's a game you have right there in your pocket and it slips out," Peterson said. "We're a resilient group. The only thing we do now is just bounce back."