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Vikings Weekly Progress Report: Ponder Still Struggling, D Rolling to Week 8

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 21:   Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings feels the pressure from O'Brien Schofield #50 of the Arizona Cardinals at the Huber H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 21, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

The Vikings continue to make their way higher and higher above the expectations of the league, all the while trying to help their young quarterback improve.

To do that it's been a healthy dose of Adrian Peterson, a dash (40-yard variety) of Percy Harvin and a smothering amount of hot sauce from the defense to opposing quarterbacks and running backs.

Do you use hot sauce in Minnesota? I was stretching for an analogy.

The defense continues to play exceedingly well, hiccup in Washington aside, and there is no huge test between now and the bye week in week 8.

Sure, they play the Lions again, but at the rate that offense is going, they might be running the Wing T to spark something. 

That will be a test, however, it will be a bigger test of the offense—as will this week's game against Tampa Bay and the next one against Seattle.

The defense has proven itself for the most part. It's the offense which needs to pick things up.

We talked last week about Christian Ponder and whether or not the suddenly frequent interceptions were a concern. They weren't then, they sort of could be now and might be next week.

Both interceptions this week were completely on Ponder. Both were plays where he was scrambling and trying to do too much. Both were throws off the mark (behind Kyle Rudolph and WAY behind Adrian Peterson) and both were thrown on the move.

There's a lot of obvious things there to fix, not the least of which is Ponder shouldn't throw if he can't plant. At this point his accuracy on the run isn't good, particularly the throw to Peterson. 

Ponder ran to his left, flushed out of the pocket. Peterson (as was the case with Kyle Rudolph earlier) was open, moving in the opposite direction Ponder was running in. 

Ponder threw it far behind Peterson who had no chance to make a play on the ball, let alone catching it.

It was an awful throw and the type that will keep his offensive coordinator up at night. Growing pains? Sure.

Something to watch? Absolutely. Hopefully when he sees the tape, he cringes as much as I did.

There's not much new or concerning aside from that. Overall the team is relying a lot on the defense to keep it in games against tougher competition, while leaning on Peterson and short slants to Percy Harvin against lesser foes.

That's going to work until they meet the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, two teams who not only have solid defenses, but offenses which can run out to a lead.

Playing catch-up requires going vertical and I don't know I trust Ponder's deep ball accuracy at this point.

They do need to stretch the field more.

Any interesting 'throw it against the wall and see if it sticks' theory has made the rounds among some fans and bloggers—should they make a play for Dwayne Bowe to compliment Harvin/Peterson.

For myself, I think it's taking on a guy who can be a headcase and might not love catching Ponder passes any more than he did Cassel passes. Also, not being even the second biggest player on the offense could rankle.

Chemistry-wise I would worry. Talent, sure he's got that. He's got baggage too.

So I leave you with this question for the comments section: is trading for Dwayne Bowe a move they should think about? What would they give up?

I'd say it'd be better to continue to develop talent than overpay for Bowe. 

Tell me what you think down below.

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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