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Vikings know they have to try to get downfield against 49ers

Minnesota's Christian Ponder looks to pass during an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Indiana. Reuters

No one’s giving the Vikings much of a chance Sunday against San Francisco’s defense.

And if they don’t get the ball downfield, they might have no chance.

Only one of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder’s 35 pass attempts against the Colts was completed for 20 yards or more, something they’re definitely looking to change this week.

“I think he had three out of his 70 plays in which we would want him to do something different decision-making (wise),” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said, via Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com. “That is a good percentage. To his credit, they were taking away some of our chunk plays down the field.

“Rather than forcing them, which young and old quarterbacks do at times, he found some completions at a definite high rate. He was doing what the play called for, and to his credit, he battled back and got his team back to a tie with 30 seconds left.”

Ponder’s being careful not to make mistakes, and there were a few chances to go deep that he didn’t see. Asked if there were open receivers downfield, and Musgrave took the blame.

“They weren’t, and that’s not on Christian. That’s on myself, the play-caller, and us as a staff designing plays,” Musgrave said. “We definitely want to have more chunks going forward. We didn’t get a chance for them to materialize against Indianapolis, and that really hurt us. It hurt us in the long run.”

Running’s going to be hard against the 49ers anytime, so if Ponder can’t find something downfield, it might be a long day for the Vikings.

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29 Responses to “Vikings know they have to try to get downfield against 49ers”
  1. rockbottom37 says: Sep 20, 2012 2:36 PM

    Never going to happen…if GB and DET couldn’t …MIN lol

  2. rickastleydancemoves says: Sep 20, 2012 2:37 PM

    How? With Headache Harvin?

  3. minnesotablizzard says: Sep 20, 2012 2:48 PM

    The Vikings need Jerome Simpson back to help stretch the field. Percy alone just isnt enough at the WR position. The rest of them are pretty bad.

  4. herpderpdeederp says: Sep 20, 2012 2:49 PM

    The 49er defense may be good against the run, but in facing the Packers and Lions to start the year, they haven’t yet faced a team as committed to running the ball as the Vikings. I’d like to see the Vikings pass more initially to setup the run. The Vikings are not designed for big comebacks. If they somehow eke out a win on Sunday, it will be a close game.

  5. titogetmesometissue says: Sep 20, 2012 2:50 PM

    Don’t sleep on us. I smell an upset. Skol Vikes!

  6. tdubdizzle says: Sep 20, 2012 2:54 PM

    Wow..It looks like the Vikings are actually going somewhere in the future. Bill Musgrave seems like he has the right idea and Christian Ponders in pretty good hands. I hope Percy Harvin takes a couple deep ones to the house!

  7. canadianvikingfaniii says: Sep 20, 2012 2:58 PM

    It is also on the receivers and OLine. John Sullivan was good last year, but now he has become a turn style all over again. He is too small for those big nose tackles. So far really only Kalil has shined on the line. And every receiver not named Percy Harvin has been terrible in getting open. Ponder has done well for the lack of help he has been getting.

  8. mrplow3 says: Sep 20, 2012 3:04 PM

    Ya, I’m kind of expecting a blowout here. Something to the tune of 30-10.

    Plus don’t be surprised if Moss goes off for a big game against his old team.

  9. sixjak says: Sep 20, 2012 3:04 PM

    I think this matchup will prove to be more interesting than most pundits are predicting. I say this as 9erfan. I actually wasn’t too concerned about GB because I didn’t believe their defense could stop SF’s offense. Same goes for DET.

    I know Harbaugh isn’t going to under prepare and has been on his team all week to not let up but players are human and are coming off 2 wins over teams everybody had SF losing to. Lets remember that all 104 players on the field didn’t get to the pro level by sucking. Nobody saw STL beating the Skins or AZ beating NE. Any given Sunday.

    C’mon admit it ppl. No non SF fan had SF starting 2-0 vs GB and DET. Most had us starting 0-2 or 1-1 at best.

    I think SF struggles in this low scoring game that can go either way. I hope I’m wrong and Moss and goes straight TD’s homie on the Vikes but I’m saying close game.

  10. 7ransponder says: Sep 20, 2012 3:39 PM

    rockbottom37 says:
    Sep 20, 2012 2:36 PM
    Never going to happen…if GB and DET couldn’t …MIN lol

    ————————

    And if they do? Team to beat in the NFC North?

  11. sharkcity408 says: Sep 20, 2012 3:40 PM

    Like Moss said “Just you wait”. I trust harbaugh won’t let success go to his players head TOO much.

  12. voice0freasonsays says: Sep 20, 2012 3:58 PM

    Unleash the Moss! It’s time to remind the Vikings what they once had.

  13. wludford says: Sep 20, 2012 4:03 PM

    I think the 49ers deserve to be ranked #1 at this point. They may not have the flashiest passing attack, but they are balanced on offense and have a solid defense. They should be the clear favorites to beat the Vikings on Sunday.

    Having said that, comparing offensive and defensive stats so far this year there is surprisingly little difference between the 49ers and Vikings.

    Both the 49ers and Vikings have strong running games first and a bit more suspect passing game to complement it. The 49ers have a better overall defense, but not so much that allowing a cheap TD or turnover doesn’t make this a close game or a Vikings win at home.

    I would not be surprised to see this be a closer game than people think, or even a Vikings upset. After all, who picked Arizona to beat the Patriots?

  14. 49erstim says: Sep 20, 2012 4:09 PM

    If Minny comes in with a good gameplan and SF overlooks and comes out flat then there could be an upset…. I just don’t see it as likely. 33-9. Sorry Vike fans.

  15. 2ruefan says: Sep 20, 2012 4:10 PM

    The careful, “dink and dunk” offense is a slow death if you don’t execute PERFECTLY. Takes you forever to get down the field, and any hiccup at all (sack, penalty spells death for the drive.

    Without those “explosive” plays mixed in (or at least the threat of them) you’re doomed against any team that has an offense.

    Couple that with the inability of the Defense to get off the field on 3rd down and it’s very painful to watch.

    Percy Harvin, AP and Rudolph are just not enough weapons. Need a couple more weapons. I would love to have seen those first two games with Simpson in the lineup.

    I hope he adds what they are missing.

  16. lordfrza says: Sep 20, 2012 5:08 PM

    No one picked the Cards to beat the Pats either…

  17. bobnelsonjr says: Sep 20, 2012 5:59 PM

    If the 49’ers can keep from laughing too hard, they should win by more than 30 points.

    Too bad the game is indoors with stale air, artificial light, and artificial carpet.

  18. zn0rseman says: Sep 20, 2012 6:15 PM

    The Vikings aren’t going deep because they don’t have any receivers (other than Harvin) who can get seperation on deep throws. Ponder just doesn’t have guys open deep, so he is wisely hitting the guys who are open. When Simpson comes back, that should change. Teams won’t be able to just key on Harvin and Rudolph anymore.

    Unfortunately for the Vikings, the NFL set up their so that it gets a lot tougher at that point. The bottom line is they lost to the Colts in Indy, and they beat the Jags, but they are winless.

  19. zn0rseman says: Sep 20, 2012 6:18 PM

    FYI: I picked the Rams over the Redskins. I’m leading my pick-em league by 3 already.

  20. pappavike says: Sep 20, 2012 6:57 PM

    Close game Either way! both teams have pretty much the same offense! DF the edge has to go to the 9ners But I think this will be the first real test for the 9ners stoping a very good running game!! 21-20 Either way!!

  21. Johnb21 says: Sep 20, 2012 7:27 PM

    The Vikings are going to get blown out. Adrian Peterson’s knee will too.

  22. 49erstim says: Sep 20, 2012 8:00 PM

    the 9ers have stopped 2 “explosive” offenses already. the only thing “explosive” about the Vikes offense this Sunday will be when Ponder gets blown up by the brothers Smith. i’m not hating on the Vikes (in fact I’m a big J Allen fan) but this squad is definately rebuilding…… but then again this is football and ANYTHING can happen.

  23. southpaw79 says: Sep 20, 2012 8:11 PM

    Okay, besides the “every other sunday” talk this looks pretty one sided. If you just look at stat lines there is not much difference between the Niners and Vikings until you look at the fact the Vikes played against the Colts and the Jags, while the Niners played the Pack and Lions…… Now the Vikings best chance would be to throw the ball up deep a whole bunch of times. They are more likely to get a odd ball ref call and gain 30-50 yards on a penalty rather than actually drive the field on that defense.

  24. vikesfansteve says: Sep 20, 2012 8:24 PM

    If the Vikings win it wouldn’t surprise me since it’s on turf and not in the SF bog or Green Bay early season grass. It all depends on the Swiss cheese secondary if they play the ball or if they do that cover 2 zone QB carve us apart crap.

  25. thepvyharvin says: Sep 20, 2012 8:39 PM

    Blair Walsh kicks his way into Viking lore,,,6 fg’s in a defensive battle,,,Vikings win

  26. zygizag says: Sep 20, 2012 10:31 PM

    Probably 35-3 for the 49’s

    But there is always a chance.

    IF the D line for the VIKES show up with sacks and strips (Maybe get their old line coach back)
    IF someone on the D learns how to pick the ball.
    IF AD breaks some big ones.
    IF Percy has a Kick-off return for a TD
    IF both Vikings TE have a big day
    IF 49’s WR suddenly get the drops
    IF we have some breaks go our way
    IF we can win it with a FG late

    Another way

    Some of the above AND
    IF WEB has to come and and he passes and runs like a man possessed crazy.

    (Never rooting for anyone to get hurt, just saying.) Vikings right now have a 75% AP, Percy and WEB as their 3 scariest players on offense and one is on the bench.

  27. zygizag says: Sep 20, 2012 10:34 PM

    Defensive battle with 5-6 FG’s.

    Two have a defensive battle you have to have 2 great defensive teams and we only have 1 great defense in this game.

    Of course you could have 2 very bad offenses and call it a defensive battle to be nice, but then again we only have 1 very bad offense in this game.

  28. forever9ers says: Sep 21, 2012 3:44 AM

    AP is the best RB in the league bar-none but he has never done well against the Niners. His first game vs. the Niners he gained a TOTAL of 3 yards on 14 carries going against fellow rookie Patrick Willis.

  29. pappavike says: Sep 21, 2012 6:17 PM

    All AP has to do is keep the DF Honest, he doesn’t have to beat them single handed! Turnovers, the tossing of yellow flags, missed calls will all play a role in this game! This will be a much closer game than anyone thinks!

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