The Minnesota Vikings gave early indications on Sunday they could at least compete with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks held an 11-point halftime lead, but up to that point the Minnesota offense hadn’t look that bad against one of the better defenses in the NFL. Christian Ponder was making good decisions and showing off his rarely seen accuracy, but things changed quickly in the fourth quarter when he threw back-to-back interceptions, the second of which was returned for a touchdown.
The Vikings’ season was over before coming into this game as they were already 2-7, but Ponder had his best game of the season the week prior, and still had some hope of holding onto his job as the Vikings starting quarterback. However, after his two late interceptions and being pulled from the game with 12 minutes remaining, his future in Minnesota looks gloomy once again.
Both of the late interceptions were just terrible reads; the first one, intercepted by Bobby Wagner, was a poor pass that hit the defender right in the chest. There are still six games remaining this season for Ponder to makeup for his performance this Sunday, but him being benched early in the fourth is a likely indicator his future in Minnesota is nonexistent.
Matt Cassel was the one who replaced Ponder in the fourth, and he immediately made the coaching staff second guess themselves as he threw an interception on just his second pass attempt of the game. Cassel redeemed himself rather quickly however by completing a nice 30-yard pass to John Carlson, on a drive that unfortunately ended with the Vikings being stopped on fourth down.
Offense, however, wasn’t the only problem for the Vikings as the secondary, and especially Xavier Rhodes, struggled mightily against the Seahawks’ passing attack. Rhodes got beat on numerous deep throws for touchdowns, and likely was the worst defender on the field for the Vikings. The lone bright spot came in the form of Brian Robison, the defensive end who recorded the Vikings’ only sack on the day.
Looking forward, the Vikings will likely start Ponder at quarterback as he appears to be the team’s most competent passer, but with Josh Freeman still on the roster, the quarterback from Tampa may be given a second chance as the Vikings clearly having nothing else to lose.