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Updated: December 2nd, 2012 4:20pm
Vikings not benching QB Christian Ponder: 'We need him to lead us'

Vikings not benching QB Christian Ponder: 'We need him to lead us'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Christian Ponder's worst game yet isn't going to result in the Minnesota Vikings making a quarterback change.

"No. Christian, he's our quarterback," coach Leslie Frazier said after Sunday's 23-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

"We're going to do all we can this week to help him to have a good week against Chicago (next Sunday) and help our team go out and get a win."

Ponder finished 12-of-25 passing (48%) for 119 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, including a pivotal pick in the end zone with the Vikings ahead 14-10 early in the third quarter.

He had only five completions -- none of them to receivers -- in 13 attempts for 36 yards before the final two drives.

"It's a combination of things," Frazier said. "We've got to find a way to get open, and we've got to do a good job in protection, and when guys are open, we've got to be able to pull the trigger and get it there."

Asked if he considered putting in backup quarterback Joe Webb, Frazier said, "Really didn't cross my mind. The game was so nip and tuck for the longest time.

"I always believed that we'd get that possession that we would need to get us back on top, even in that fourth quarter when we got it back. Didn't cross my mind. We were doing so many things well as a team that I felt like we'd get it done, somehow."

Ponder admitted the performance "definitely hurts" and said he puts the loss on his shoulders.

The Vikings didn't commit a turnover while rallying behind halfback Adrian Peterson to take a four-point halftime lead in a game Frazier had emphasized all week would come down to ball security.

They got the ball out of the locker room, Peterson popped a 48-yard run and the Vikings had second-and-6 at the Packers 8 when Ponder rolled right and underthrew a pass for Michael Jenkins in the end zone that safety Morgan Burnett intercepted.

"I've got to see it on film, but one of the number one rules as a quarterback is don't throw across your body across the middle, especially when it's late in the down," Ponder said. "That's exactly what I did. I thought he was coming open and maybe I could have thrown a better ball, but I probably shouldn't have thrown it at all."

The Packers kicked a field goal on their ensuing drive and led 20-14 late in the third quarter when the Vikings drove to the Green Bay 25 -- only for Ponder to miss badly on an off-balance throw that floated behind tight end Kyle Rudolph, allowing Burnett to pick him off again.

"Man coverage, (Rudolph) had (Burnett) beat," Ponder said. "I had to step up, was a little late on the throw and left it behind him. It's my job to put it where only Kyle can catch it and I left it behind him and the guy made a good play."

Frazier was seen speaking to Ponder in the locker room and "just reminded him how we've got to learn from everything that happened (Sunday) and use this time to get better and figure out things that we have to figure out as a team.

"He'll be the guy that will lead us to victory when we line up against Chicago next week. We need him to lead us."

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.
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