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Updated: November 4th, 2012 7:26pm
Leslie Frazier unconvinced Christian Ponder is Vikings' problem

Leslie Frazier unconvinced Christian Ponder is Vikings' problem

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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SEATTLE -- Another remarkably unproductive performance doesn't have quarterback Christian Ponder's starting job in jeopardy.

Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier dismissed the suggestion he may analyze the position after Ponder threw for 63 yards on 11-of-22 passing in Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"We need some balance, and we've got to look at the tape as coaches and figure out what we have to do to create that balance," Frazier said. "I don't necessarily think that Christian is the problem. We've got to look at what we're doing and what people are doing against us as well."

It was just the latest in a series of apparent steps back for Ponder, who has completed 98 of 161 passes (60.9%) for 982 yards with six touchdown passes and eight interceptions over the Vikings' past five games.

The second-year quarterback was just 8-of-17 passing for 58 yards with two interceptions and a 35.3 rating in a win over Arizona on Oct. 21. Two weeks later, he fell well short of the 100-yard mark again here, throwing a late interception that left him with a 37.3 rating.

That helped squander a Herculean effort by Adrian Peterson, who ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (10.7 average) against persistent eight- and nine-man boxes.

"I don't know if there's concern," Ponder said of the Vikings' passing game, which likely will fall even further after entering the game ranked 27th in the NFL.

"Obviously, we know that we have to get better. It's all fixable. We're going to see that on film, probably, is that it's all fixable. We just have to do it."

Asked if defenses are approaching the Vikings as one-dimensional, Ponder said, "I don't know. Obviously, the past couple games it's been one-dimensional. But we've seen what the passing game can do early on in the season.

"We've just got to get back to that. We're good at throwing the ball. We've got good receivers. We've got good blocking up front. I've just got to keep doing a better job of getting the ball in their hands.

"This team isn't one-dimensional. This offense isn't one-dimensional. We've shown that the past couple games. But we can throw the ball and we're going to figure it out and we're going to win in the air."

Tension is mounting, though. After one failed third down, receiver Percy Harvin followed Frazier down the sideline, yelling and waving his arms until Frazier took off his headset to calm Harvin down.

"We're all frustrated in the passing game, and obviously, we know it can get better," Ponder said. "But we have great leadership on this team and Percy's one of our great leaders and we're not going to let it become a problem.

"Obviously, we know that we've got to fix it and we're going to use it as motivation. When we throw for 44 yards, obviously, everyone's going to be disappointed in it and we know we're better than that."

Harvin downplayed the incident after the game and offered support when asked if he has confidence in Ponder as the Vikings' quarterback.

"I'm confident. Definitely," Harvin said. "He's our quarterback. He's who the staff picked. So, we've just got to get back Monday and just get things corrected."

Joe Webb has dressed as the No. 2 quarterback for every game but has played only three snaps, in garbage time against Tennessee on Oct. 7.

Frazier said recently there is no scenario, barring an injury, in which he could see benching Ponder, the No. 12 overall pick in last year's NFL Draft. Sunday's performance apparently didn't change that either.

Ponder also took four sacks, leaving the Vikings with 44 net passing yards.

"They obviously did some things to affect our pass offense," Frazier said. "We've got to figure out how to adjust and get better."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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