When you see a headline like that and look at Christian Ponder’s line from Sunday, it would be easy to imagine that the Vikings lost their game.
Ponder was 8-of-17 for 58 yards and threw a pair of interceptions against the Cardinals, the kind of line that’s normally associated with quarterbacks who are headed for a week of controversy about whether or not they will keep their jobs. The Vikings won their game 21-14 behind big days from both Adrian Peterson and the defense, though, and Ponder’s job is pretty secure now that Minnesota has a 5-2 record in his second season.
Having said that, Ponder knows that things can’t keep going the way they’ve been going. He’s thrown six interceptions in the last three games after throwing none in the first four weeks and many have been bad decisions to throw the ball across his body and/or under pressure instead of bailing on the play and living to fight another day. After Sunday’s game, Ponder made the assessment that you see on top of this post.
“I’m trying to do too many things. I’m getting out of the pocket and trying to force it to happen,” Ponder said, via Ben Goessling of the Pioneer Press. “I have to be a lot smarter and make better decisions for sure.”
It’s obviously better to deal with these issues when you’re 5-2 than 2-5, especially when the schedule is about to make it even more essential that the team clean up their remaining rough edges.
The Vikings will host the Buccaneers on Thursday night and then their schedule takes a turn for the very difficult. Five road games, five NFC North games and six games against teams currently holding winning records make up the finishing kick and the Vikings can’t win those games by handing teams as many opportunities as Ponder has handed them in recent weeks.