Sunday, December 02, 2012

Vikings Speaking with Rosenfels?

Today's Minnesota Vikings' 23-14 loss at Lambeau Field, paired with the Chicago Bears' loss to the Seattle Seahawks, leaves the Vikings two games out of first and two games out of second.  Seattle's win,  combined with its earlier victory over Minnesota, also leaves the Vikings two games out of the final wild-card spot.

To have any hope of making the playoffs this season, the Vikings almost assuredly would need to win their final four games of the regular season.  With Christian Ponder at the helm, that's not only improbable but outright impossible.

After yet another dismal quarterbacking performance, and games remaining against Chicago, Houston, St. Louis, and Green Bay, Minnesota has only one meaningful option left for salvaging the season.  That option is to bring back Sage Rosenfels.  Rosenfels knows the Vikings' system and playbook and is competent enough not to lose a game that the Vikings otherwise would win, but for poor quarterback play.

For Ponder, the jury cannot possibly any longer be out--not even for the man who drafted him, Vikings' General Manager Rick Spielman.  Ponder's best game of the season was below league average against the opponent (San Francisco) and his worst games are the type that get all other quarterbacks banished from the league.

A clear example of what is wrong with Ponder's game is the juxtaposition of his two-minute skills versus those of first-year quarterback Andrew Luck--a true franchise quarterback.  With a defender tugging on him from behind and needing two scores to pull ahead late in the game, Luck rifled a deep pass into the end zone with just enough pitch to elude the defender.  The result was a touchdown and eventual victory.

Late in the fourth quarter, needing two scores to win, Ponder completed a series of non-chalant play-calling and dump-off passes over the middle with a scramble out of the pocket, to the left, where, with no pressure anywhere near, he fell backwards and launched a pass that floated harmlessly out of bounds--a good twenty yards from any eligible player.

Whereas there is considerable reason to believe that, no matter against whom Luck plays the remainder of the season, the time invested in him will pay dividends and result in continued improvement, the exact opposite is true of Ponder.  Against good competition the remainder of the year, there is zero reason to believe  that Ponder will do anything other than possibly rise to the level of a sub-par player.

In a league in which teams go from young to established within a single season, the Vikings' organization is either fooling itself or the fans with its nonsense about this being a building year for young players.  In the NFL, all teams are both young and experienced by this point of any given season.  And when the quarterback is so far below replacement level that he costs a team that offers a 200-yard back a game that would have put the team in first place, the organization can no longer bury its head in the sand of euphemisms and wishful thinking.  The rest of the team and the fans deserve better decision-making.  If they get it, Ponder will be out next week.  If not, the Vikings will be.

Up Next:  Whither Webb?

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