Christian Ponder (Benny Sieu/US Presswire)
Despite another poor outing from Christian Ponder, he will remain the Vikings’ starter, Leslie Frazier confirmed.
The Vikings will stick with Christian Ponder as their starting quarterback, despite another lackluster performance in which Ponder’s two interceptions helped overshadow a 210-yard rushing performance from running back Adrian Peterson.
Head coach Leslie Frazier said he didn’t consider making a quarterback change during the Vikings’ 23-14 loss at Green Bay and he isn’t considering a change next week when Minnesota hosts the Chicago Bears.
“No, Christian, he’s our quarterback,” Frazier said when asked if will considered a quarterback change this week. “We’re going to do all we can this week to help him have a good game against Chicago and help our team go out and get a win.”
Ponder registered a quarterback rating under 60 for the third time in the last four games and has had only one game with a rating above 100 since Week 2 of the season.
Sunday at Lambeau Field, it was Ponder’s two interceptions that were especially damaging. The Vikings had built a 14-10 halftime lead thanks to an 82-yard touchdown run by Peterson, who started the second half off with a 48-yard run to the Packers’ 12-yard line. But, one play later, Ponder threw a second-down interception in the end zone. The Packers took advantage of the mistake, driving for a field goal for the first of what would be 13 unanswered second-half points.
“I’ve got to see it on film, but one of the No. 1 rules as a quarterback is don’t throw across your body across the middle, especially when it’s late in the down – and that’s exactly what I did,” Ponder said. “I thought (receiver Michael Jenkins) was coming open and I maybe could have thrown a better ball but I probably shouldn’t have thrown it at all.”
After going three-and-out on the ensuing two drives, the Vikings used another explosive run from Peterson – this one going 23 yards – to drive into Packers territory, but Ponder was late on a crossing route to tight end Kyle Rudolph and Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett had his second interception of the game.
The Packers essentially sealed the win after that with an 18-play, 11-minute drive that ended with a 31-yard Mason Crosby field goal for the final points of the game with four minutes left in the 23-14 win.
Ponder put the loss squarely on himself.
“Definitely. One in the red zone. One drive to get into the end zone. For sure, and there’s other plays I’d like to have back. It hurts. It definitely hurts,” Ponder said. “That’s football. That’s the quarterback position, and I can’t let it get me down. I’ve got to move forward, and if I let this affect me and affect the next game then that’s unfair to my teammates, it’s unfair to me. I’ve got to swallow it and learn from it and come back to work tomorrow.”
When he does that, Frazier will still have him installed atop the quarterback depth chart, despite knowing his 2011 first-round draft pick is struggling after completing only 12 of 25 passes for 119 yards and failing to connect with a wide receiver until the final four minutes of the game.
But, more than anything, it was the two passes that were caught by Burnett that erased Peterson’s incredible effort.
“When you’re on the road, you really have to play clean football. Turnovers on the road, it’s tough when you finish minus (in turnover ratio)” Frazier said. “It’s hard to overcome that. We don’t have the margin for error on our team right now. Hopefully (Ponder), along with the rest of team, will learn from that lesson and maybe grow.”
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.