EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Christian Ponder has thrown for a fewer than 100 yards in two of the Minnesota Vikings’ past three games, a staggering stretch that has many wondering what has caused the passing game to stall.
Ponder knows he returns for a home game this week in front of a crowd that could be ready to boo and ask for backup quarterback Joe Webb to be inserted into Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. The 2011 first-round pick said after last week’s game, when he completed 11 of 22 pass for 63 yards and an interception, that he wouldn’t be surprised by the boos because he knows he hasn’t been playing well.
But Minnesota is sticking by its second-year starter. Ponder had his weekly press conference with Twin Cities media Wednesday and offered a lot shorter answers than usual. He dismissed some of the recent problems, including insisting the knee injury that bugged him earlier this season is no longer a concern and doesn’t affect his game.
Five questions and answers from Ponder’s press conference:
1. As you look at the tape of the passing game, are you seeing repeat issues from week to week right now, or is it a different animal each week?
PONDER: It’s pretty much different each week. We’re not really seeing repeat mistakes, and if we did, that wouldn’t be good. But no, there’s nothing that’s being repeated. No.
2. When you look at your performance specifically, what jumps out at you?
PONDER: I don’t know. Obviously, I can play better. I don’t know if there’s any specific things that jump out at me. It just goes back to execution, and my execution has to pick up. We know that’s obviously important for this week with such a big game, but nothing really specific has jumped out at me.
3. Is there any finger-pointing in the locker room?
PONDER: No, not at all. We have a lot of good characters on this team and a lot of great leaders. There’s been absolutely no finger-pointing, no.
4. There were a couple of times in that game where you were double-clutching a little bit. There was the play right before the half to Michael Jenkins, where he’s out there and it looked like you hesitated for a second to get the ball to him. Are you playing with enough confidence, I guess for lack of a better term, just to deliver the ball where it needs to be on time?
PONDER: Yeah, I am. I think some, like that specific play, I tried to go somewhere else and it didn’t happen. So I came late to Jenkins. But yeah, confidence breeds from preparation, and I think we’re really preparing really well. We’ve got great game plans, and again it just goes back to us executing. But I have full confidence in what I’m doing.
5. When you talked in the offseason when you looked back at last year, you got off to a good start, and then I think you said you started thinking a little bit too much, is there some of that going on at this point where you just need to let it go and play?
PONDER: No, I don’t think so. I’m a lot more comfortable in the offense now than I was last year and a lot of it had to do with not being comfortable. But, no, I don’t think that I’m thinking out there, no.