Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/20/11
MINNEAPOLIS Adrian Peterson was in a rare position as spectator for the Minnesota Vikings' offense on Sundayfrom the sidelines.Peterson didn't enjoy his opportunity to watch the game from the sideline after injuring his left ankle late in the first quarter. Without him, Minnesota didn't give many positive reasons to watch either.The Vikings were done in by penalties and turnovers in Sunday's 27-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Minnesota had five turnovers and nine penalties for 50 yards in the loss to drop to 2-8 this season."Definitely frustrating," Peterson said of the continued mistakes. "Sitting there and having an opportunity to sit back and watch and see different things just offensively and defensively, there's some things we need to clean up. We can't continue to have self-inflicted wounds when we're struggling. Hopefully we'll clean things up and just come back and have a full game without any penalties. That would be great."Peterson had six carries for 26 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with 14 seconds left in the first quarter. Peterson said X-rays taken during the game were negative, but he wouldn't know anything further until going through an MRI on Monday."It hurts," Peterson said. "It hurts pretty bad, but I'm thinking positive. That's the only thing that's going to help me. That's where my mind is at."Without their top offensive threat and facing a 24-7 first-half deficit, the Vikings turned to rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. As he's done since taking over full-time in week seven, Ponder showed flashes but was felled by rookie mistakes and again showed he has a way to go before he is able to take control of a game single-handedly.Ponder was 19 for 33 passing for 211 yards. He threw two touchdowns, but had three interceptions. He also ran five times for 71 yards.His most costly interception came with 8:18 left in the fourth and with Minnesota looking like it might provide a late challenge to the AFC West-leading Raiders. Rolling out on a 3-and-5 play, Ponder threw into coverage and Oakland's Stanford Routt intercepted the pass in the end zone. Ponder had a second-quarter pass intercepted at the 5-yard line too."You know, probably all three of those interceptions I tried to do too much, tried to make a play out of nothing," Ponder said. "Bad decisions, in the NFL they're going to cost you and it's not worth it."Peterson capped the Vikings first scoring drive, but they were also aided by three critical Raiders' penalties. Minnesota drove 77 yards, but benefitted from 42 yards in penalties.After Peterson left, Toby Gerhart and Percy Harvin shared snaps in the Vikings' backfield. Gerhart finished with seven carries for 18 yards and Harvin had five carries for 21 yards.Just like Green Bay had done a week earlier, Oakland brought more pressure on Ponder. The results were similar to last week. In what's become a passing league, Minnesota has built its entire offense around Peterson and running the ball. Without Peterson, Ponder wasn't able to carry the load.Following the game, Ponder took to the podium and immediately blamed himself for the loss."We just kept making mistakes, especially me," Ponder said. "I kept making mistakes and turning the ball over. You can't win a game that way, especially not in the NFL. I've got a lot of learning to do, a lot of improving. I think this whole team played well and there's still room for improvement, starting with me, starting tomorrow."Ponder forced throws trying to make desperation plays. The offensive line and receivers didn't help out the rookie quarterback either. Ponder was sacked five times, hurried on several other occasions and receivers dropped passes."That's the other 10 guys around him; we've got to step up and make plays to help him out," receiver Michael Jenkins said. "He's going to make mistakes. We were all rookies. We've all made mistakes before. He's still not playing like a rookie."Unexpectedly, the Vikings still had a chance at the end, just like they did in the last home game on Oct. 23 against Green Bay in Ponder's first start. Despite the interceptions, Ponder threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns one to Harvin, one to tight end Kyle Rudolph and Minnesota had the ball with a chance to go ahead with three minutes reaming. Any chance at a comeback ended when Ponder's fourth-down pass with 1:58 left was batted away from Harvin."I mean, rookie or not, ups and downs are going to happen in a game," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "It's all how you fight through them. He fought through them pretty well out there. He made good passes, good decisions. Of course, there's a lot of things that us as a team we need to work on, special teams, offense and defense, everything. Same old story."Peterson watched the same old story unfold from the sideline. He hopes he won't have to watch it again. Though the Vikings are 2-8, Peterson said he won't give himself extra time to heal. Once he can play, he wants to be on the field."That's not in my DNA," Peterson said of not rushing back because of the team's record. "I'm going to try to get back as fast as I can and god-willing I'm going to be up and ready to run this weekend."
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