Notebook: Ponder says footwork is a problem

Christian Ponder (Larry French/Getty)

Vikings QB Christian Ponder said his decision-making is better than his footwork, which led to two interceptions for the second straight game.

Christian Ponder has digested the film from the Washington Redskins game and came to a conclusion on his accuracy issues: His footwork was to blame; his decision-making wasn't.

Ponder had threw two interceptions in the Vikings' (4-2) 38-26 loss, lost another possession when his arm was hit and he fumbled, and had at least seven passes that fell incomplete because of inaccuracy.

The worst was a short pass intended for Michael Jenkins that was badly overthrown and intercepted by former Vikings safety Madieu Williams, who returned it 24 yards for a touchdown and a 31-12 Redskins lead.

"My feet weren't right. Jenks is wide open 5 yards in front of me and the ball just sailed on me," Ponder said.

"It wasn't good. I knew right when it left my hand it sailed on me and the guy was sitting right there and intercepted it. It wasn't good."

Ponder's 83.2 passer rating was his second-lowest of the season, and his 67.3 completion percentage was the third-lowest. It was also the second straight game in which he threw two interceptions after starting the season with four games without an interception and being the last starting quarterback in the league to throw one.

"The other game was very similar – two poor throws," he said, referencing the two interceptions he threw in a blowout win over the Tennessee Titans. "It's not really decision-making. I'm not really making bad decisions. It's something that's easily correctable. I think a lot of it has to do with my footwork and it's something I'll look at this week."

Ponder said he is comfortable in the pocket, but, just as he suggested in the preseason, he needs to step up in the pocket sooner and maybe more often.

"It's not really (a matter of being) comfortable in the pocket. It's being better moving around in the pocket," Ponder said. "The one to Jenkins I was hitching up so I was looking left and he was on the right and I never got my foot all the way to the right and that's why … it kind of sailed on me. That's me (doing) a better job of moving around in the pocket, not really being more comfortable.

"I think when I get myself in trouble is when I get to the top of my drop and just hop there and sit back there rather than moving forward. I definitely make a lot of my better throws when I move forward."

Sunday also marked just the second game he took four sacks. The other time also came in a road loss, that time to the Indianapolis Colts.

"There are going to be some bumps in the road. That's part of the process, but it's only going to get better with time," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.

"For the most part, he had a good pocket. There were times he had to move. They made him move and he got off his spot a few times, but I don't think it's anything to be alarmed with at this time."

For the season, Ponder is completing 68.8 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns, four interceptions and 92.5 rating.


  • WR Jerome Simpson was a full participant in practice Wednesday and the team will re-evaluate his back and leg issues. Simpson was upset about being deactivated Sunday against the Redskins because of the injury.

  • RB Adrian Peterson didn't practice Wednesday, but Frazier said he should be fine. Peterson played a full game Sunday but was hindered by a sprained left ankle.

  • S Mistral Raymond was going through individual drills for the first time since his ankle injury on Sept. 23. Raymond was listed as limited on the injury report.

  • The Vikings had four other players limited in practice: DE Jared Allen (groin), CB Robert Blanton (hamstring), LB Marvin Mitchell (calf), CB Antoine Winfield (knee).

  • QB Christian Ponder continues to be listed on the injury report with a knee injury, but he also continues to be a full participant in practices.

  • Despite converting only 2 of 7 trips inside the 20-yard line into touchdowns, Ponder said the Vikings aren't going to change their scheme in the red zone, rather just focus on better execution.

    "We just need to do what we're doing better," he said. "… We're not going to do anything crazy different."

  • The Cardinals had five players that didn't participate in Wednesday's practice: QB Kevin Kolb (ribs, already ruled out), S Kerry Rhodes (back), FB Anthony Sherman (knee), CB Greg Toler (hamstring) and LB Reggie Walker (head).

  • Five more Cardinals were limited: CB Michael Adams (hamstring), DT Darnell Dockett (hamstring), LB Quentin Groves (hamstring), TE Todd Heap (knee) and LB O'Brien Schofield (knee).

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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