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Is Ponder the key to Peterson’s production? Part 2 of 2

ponder draft dayVikings head coach Leslie Frazier has been rather candid about what he wants from Adrian Peterson in this upcoming season……….Equal production with less overall demand.

The Vikings will remain a run first offense, but the hope is that third year QB Christian Ponder will take the next step and lessen the need to run AP into the ground.

Last season, Peterson ran the ball 348 times for an average of 21.75 per game.  At the same time, Ponder threw the ball 483 times for a rate of 30.19 times per game. The plan would be for Ponder to throw about 35 passes a game while concurrently lowering Peterson’s average rushes per game to under 20. In a perfect world, Peterson’s would carry the ball less as a direct result of Ponder becoming a bigger offensive threat.

But what will it take to make that happen? A more dangerous receiving corps should help. That didn’t seem plausible when Percy Harvin forced his way out of town. Harvin was a colossal ass hat who could not be relied on to answer the call at game time. However, few will argue that when available, he was the team’s most productive receiver and replacing his production will be difficult.

Signing former Packers wideout Greg Jennings was a major step in the right direction. His versatility as both a slot receiver and a vertical threat will go a long ways in helping Ponder to “Grow Up” by virtue of being a more dependable weapon. It doesn’t hurt that he is considered a leader and probable mentor as well as a good locker room guy.

Secondly, it is this writer’s opinion that last year’s most disappointing free agent pick-up, former Bengal Jerome Simpson will have a bounce back year. He seems focused and committed to re-establishing himself as a quality receiver.  He re-signed with the team, taking a “prove it” contract, making 2013 an opportunity to show that he belongs.

Third, the team has talented, yet unproven sophomore slot receiver Jarius Wright coming back. Last season, he flashed glimpses of his potential, catching 22 passes, with an average of 14.09 yards per, and 2 TD’s.

Finally, the team surrendered four draft choices for a chance to move back into the first round to grab Tennessee phenom Cordarelle Patterson, a player of incredible potential, sprinter’s speed and all-world tools, who (along with Tavon Austin) many teams had as the top receiver in the draft.

So, does having better weapon’s make Ponder a better quarterback? And how does all this make Peterson more productive?

It’s easy to forget that AP did what he did against teams that were Hell bent on stopping the run to the near abandonment of pass coverage. More often than not, defenses would “Stack the box” with three linebackers and a safety, virtually daring Ponder to attack them through the air, with receivers consistently seeing single coverage.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Peterson wrecked the best laid plans of defensive coordinators on his way to a 2,000 + yard season. Imagine what he could do if defenses were forced to leave their safeties and outside linebackers off the line of scrimmage because they actually respected what Ponder could do to them?

That is precisely why Rick Spielman was willing to part with a plethora of draft picks in order to secure the receiver of their choice.

If all goes according to plan, then Ponder does more, causing Peterson to reduce his overall carries while allowing him to gain more yards per carry.  Does this make sense?

Ponder is out of excuses. This may be his last, best shot to show everyone that he can be a franchise QB while establishing the neo-chic “Laydown the law” firm of Peterson, Patterson and Ponder as a reckoning Twin-city force.

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10 Responses to “Is Ponder the key to Peterson’s production? Part 2 of 2”

  1. will says:

    I get a kick out of clips like this,where they are questioning whether Ponder will step up his game.What about Musgrave “stepping up” his playcalling? You know,the one who decides that our qb hand the ball off on 1st & 2nd downs,and then says to his qb,now that we’re in 3rd & long,and you have terrible wr’s-go out there and makes something happen Christian,against a defense who now all knoiw you must pass in a very bad situation to bail out the offense.Yeah,that’s what we see game after game from Musgrave,yet it’s Ponder that’s in a prove it year now,right??

    • cboynton says:

      Interesting ! Maybe that would make a good article moving forward. Thanks Will and Purple !

    • Richard Jones says:

      I couldn’t agree more. This is MORE of a make or break year for MUSGRAVE! He has to prepare and implement a dynamic playbook that lets Ponder and our receivers open it up or our passing offense will be dead in the water. Ponder will improve this year, but will not make the strides he is capable of without an OC that puts him and our passing offense in the best position to succeed. I have faith and confidence in Ponder, but Musgrave will have to prove something to me and Vikings nation this year.

  2. purplereign57 says:

    @Will…although Christian Ponder is without a doubt in a “prove it” year, your comment holds plenty of water. I agree that it is Musgrave who should be considered in a prove it year, and should be in the frying pan, on the burner, and if he continues to be a second rate play caller, then Minnesota should definitely change gears, and get an offensive coordinator in there who can be a little bit of a mentor, and at the same time, be a lot more creative and adventurous with his play calling. Musgrave has had his chances, (plenty of them), but if things look as though they are headed in the same direction this ccoming seaso, then management needs to grow a pair, can his ass, and get someone in there that can get the job done. Nice and precise post, Will. Well said.

    • PillowPorkers says:

      Unfortunately (to those who throw Musgrave under the bus), our best weapon on offense also happens to be the most predictable player on offense in the league. We do not need a creative offense to score. Feed the beast. And yes, while it may seem we did a lot of running on first and 2nd down to find ourselves in a 3rd and long, you need to get adrian his touches. He averaged 6.0 yards a pop last year. There were many MORE times where we fed him on 1st and 2nd and would move the chains or get into a manageable 3rd and short where we could do many things at that point. As fans, we always see the bad calls, and not the good (or easy) ones (aka 2,000 yard rusher).

  3. Richard Jones says:

    PillowPorkers, I can’t believe I’m going to dignify your comment with a response, but it seems you need to be educated. The Vikings offense was too reliant on AP last year and although he was the league MVP, and deservedly so, he was handed a heavier workload because our passing offense was lackluster. An NFL team needs to have balance on offense…AP will probably have a shortened career if he is asked to carry the ball like that every year. He is a beast and would welcome the opportunity to have the ball all the time, but our head coach has already made it clear that they don’t want AP carrying the ball that many times a game…he wants the passing offense to make teams honest by being efficient and not load the line of scrimmage, therefore freeing ip more holes for AP to run through, allowing him the opportunity to still gain a lot of yards without as many carries per game. So you see, it is more important than ever that Musgrave gets his act together NOW and allow our passing game to improve by implementing some dynamic passing

    • PillowPorkers says:

      So Richard, Musgrave deserves no credit for having a 2,000 yard back on offense, but all the blame for our lackluster passing game? We were the 2nd highest scoring team for the month of December. It was not Bill Musgrave’s fault that we had only Michael Jenkins and Aromashodu on the outside. The Vikings will naturally be better this year by getting a healthy Jerome, adding Greg, adding CP, and Ponder being a year older. I think you are being ignorant if you think the main game plan is going to change. Obviously no one hopes 28 sees 350 carries again, but stupid to think we aren’t going to try and run AD down everyone’s throats until they prove to stop him. Let’s take the Bears game at home (also the Lions on the road comes to mind in a similar fashion) for example. Most fans thought we were out of it. No doubt a must win game. Adrian starts off with a 55 yard run. We go 80 yards on 5 plays, mostly Adrian running over the Bears. Then Jay Cutler proceeds to basically throw 2 pick 6’s and we go up 21-0. With the best RB in the league, we basically run the ball 30 times, they did a decent job keeping him in check, but the 21-0 deficit and Adrian pounding them was too much. Ponder threw for 91 yards, and the Vikings win. Tell me how the game plan is going to change in 2013? It won’t. It was obviously the right call you are up 21 with the best RB in the league. There is nothing creative, flashy (outside of his 20+ runs), or WRONG about handing the ball off 30 times to Adrian in a must win game with a lead. It’s both predictable and correct. We will continue that strategy until he proves he can’t get the job done. That will not be in 2013.

      • PillowPorkers says:

        I think when people hear the phrase balanced offense, they think “ok were going to go into every game and try to run 50% of the time and pass 50% of the time”. That’s not the case. A balanced offense simply means you can execute both run and pass plays effectively. Depending on the score, and the opponents strengths and weaknesses on defense, the gameplan should change. No one does this better than Bill Belichick. Every week they have a completely different gameplan depending on the opponent. They are a truly balanced offense, which in any given week, is extremely imbalanced. Some weeks they will run 40+ times, others they will drop Brady back 50 times. The Vikings don’t have that luxury. Hopefully we can develop Ponder and the WR core into this.

  4. PurpleHelmet says:

    I’ll tell you right now, White Cassell is going to be our QB. As soon as Squander gets injured, WC takes over and there’s no looking back in 13. My prediction. Cassel is way more confident and experienced than Ponder.

  5. SouthernVikesFan says:

    Oh boy, here we go again! Where is coach at? Tell me coach if you read this, if Ponder don’t show any improvement from last year do you put in Cassel after game 3, or do you wait until we have a slim chance of making the playoffs before you start him?

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