Without his favorite receiver in the lineup two weeks ago, Christian Ponder was forced to finally spread the ball around the field. It was long overdue, but it paid off, as he had his best game in weeks (221 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions).
For the Minnesota Vikings to win again Sunday against the Chicago Bears, the same thing will have to happen. Percy Harvin is very unlikely to play because of the same sore ankle that kept him out two weeks ago, so Ponder will again have to look elsewhere to complete passes.
There’s no question the second-year quarterback has been guilty of locking in on Harvin all season long, and it finally game to a point in week 10 where something had to change. Luckily for the team, it did. In total, Ponder hooked up with nine different receivers against the Detroit Lions.
Similar things must happen in week 12, or it could be a long day for the purple and gold.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, especially the way Adrian Peterson is running the ball, but Ponder must act as the proverbial game-manager against the Bears.
He’s going up against an elite defense that will take mistakes, and turn them into points if he’s not careful.
Playing it safe should equal a lot of throws to tight end Kyle Rudolph. The second-year player has the ability to be difference-maker nearly anywhere on the field, but especially in the red zone. Ponder must make it a priority to get Rudolph involved in the game early and often.
Other than that, it’s anyone’s guess who could step up for Minnesota. Jarius Wright could have another good game, or hopefully Jerome Simpson will finally breakout and become the deep threat the team was hoping for when they signed him.
Fans aren’t going to be picky, they’ll just want to see Ponder making the smart throws, to a multitude of different players. The Vikings must make the Bears respect their passing game enough to at least take a little pressure off of Peterson.
If Ponder reverts to the player he was three weeks ago, the Vikings will almost certainly lose.
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