Posted September 11, 2013 on AP on Fox
If the Minnesota Vikings are to end their struggles in Chicago, they'll likely need to take care of the football against an opportunistic Bears defense that seems to have picked up where it left off last season. Hoping to cut down on the mistakes made in their season-opening defeat, the Vikings look to avoid a sixth straight road loss to the Bears on Sunday. Chicago has won 11 of 12 at home over Minnesota, averaged 35.6 points during this five-game winning streak and won the last three by an average margin of 20.3. The Bears have forced 31 turnovers in those 12 meetings, including 14 in the last five. After leading the NFL with 44 takeaways in 2012, Chicago got a pair of Charles Tillman interceptions and recovered a fumble during last Sunday's 24-21 home win over Cincinnati. That doesn't seem to bode well for the Vikings, who turned the ball over four times courtesy of quarterback Christian Ponder in their 34-24 loss at Detroit last Sunday. "You have to be exceptional to win those games when you finish minus in the turnover ratio," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said. "We haven't shown that we are exceptional to be able to do that. "We will get better." If so, it must start with Ponder. The third-year quarterback helped guide Minnesota to the playoffs in 2012, but he threw three interceptions and fumbled a handoff to Adrian Peterson in the fourth quarter that led to a Lions touchdown. "Turnovers on the road - at home as well, but on the road in particular - are tough sometimes to overcome," Frazier said. Ponder, who passed for 236 yards and a TD, has thrown 28 interceptions in 28 regular-season games. "It's always frustrating, but you've just got to forget about it and move on to next week, the Chicago game," said Jerome Simpson, who had seven receptions for 140 yards. "I believe in the guy, and he's going to come back even stronger and more confident this next week." Ponder has thrown a touchdown and three picks in four games against the Bears but did help Minnesota snap a six-game slide in the series with a 21-14 win Dec. 9. He could use a more sustainable effort from Peterson, who ran 78 yards for a touchdown on his first carry last Sunday, then was held to 15 on 17 attempts the rest of the game. Peterson did add another rushing score and a 4-yard TD reception. The NFL's reigning MVP ran for 154 yards and two scores at home against the Bears last season and quietly gained 108 on 18 carries in a 28-10 loss at Soldier Field on Nov. 25. Chicago held the Bengals to 63 rushing yards, but the play of its offense in first-year coach Marc Trestman's West Coast system has the team cautiously optimistic moving forward. The Bears totaled 226 of their 323 yards during a second half in which they erased an 11-point deficit. Jay Cutler completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 242 yards with two TDs, an interception and connected with five receivers. Brandon Marshall had eight receptions for 104 yards and a score and Matt Forte recorded 91 total yards and a rushing TD. After Cutler was sacked 38 times last season, Chicago's revamped offensive line held Cincinnati's vaunted defense without one. "I thought no one got frustrated early on with us and the way we were playing," Cutler said. "We stuck to the game plan. The fourth quarter - that's when you've got to win ballgames in this league." Trestman hopes to see improvement in the running game after Forte was held to 50 yards on 19 carries. "We've got to do a better job for Matt of running the football and we think we can," he said. Forte has averaged 4.1 yards per carry and never rushed for more than 96 in any of his nine games against the Vikings. Marshall was targeted 37 times and caught 22 balls for 252 yards and a TD versus Minnesota in 2012.

Vikings remain confident in Christian Ponder

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Four turnovers have placed the crosshairs directly on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder after Sunday's 34-24 season-opening loss at Detroit. Those sights aren't from coach Leslie Frazier. Frazier reinforced Ponder is the team's starting quarterback, telling the Chicago media Ponder's job is "not in jeopardy" during a...

Turnover-prone Ponder must improve for Vikings

(With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Pro Football Writer The Minnesota Vikings are set up to win without commanding performances by Christian Ponder. This run-first team that relies on stingy defense, favorable field position and strong special teams play doesn't need Ponder to put on a passing clinic each week. But if he continues to play the way he did in the season opener...

Brian Hall's Sept. 12 Vikings mailbag

Losing in the season opener at Detroit has increased the vitriol from Minnesota Vikings fans. The targets of their criticisms lie mainly with the quarterback and offensive coordinator. Many of the questions in our weekly mailbag revolved around starting quarterback Christian Ponder and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. A few also pointed their anger at coach Leslie Frazier and...

Leslie Frazier Won’t Give Up on Christian Ponder

The quarterback position is one of the most scrutinized positions in all of the NFL. Whether your team wins or loses, the praises or blame usually falls on the shoulders of the man under center. For Christian Ponder the seat is getting hotter for him to start producing, however head coach Leslie Frazier does have his back. Frazier says he isn’t going to make a change at quarterback...

Leslie Frazier: Vikings players aren’t pointing fingers at Christian Ponder

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier says don’t just blame quarterback Christian Ponder, who had four turnovers, for the team’s 34-24 season-opening loss at Detroit. “On Sunday, it was not all about 

5 Areas the Vikings Need to Improve Heading into Week 2

The Vikings had a very disappointing game in Detroit, that they ended up losing 34-24.  While the offense and Christian Ponder struggled mightily, there were plenty of other areas that need to step up their play if the Vikings have any chance of winning this Sunday against the Bears. 5. Jeff Locke’s Punting The Lions routinely had excellent starting field position throughout the...

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Three quarterbacks. Three teams. Three losses. Cleveland Browns Brandon Weeden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman or Minnesota Vikings Christian Ponder. Who gets benched and replaced first? All three struggled in their respective season opener, and all three have to considered to be on a short leash this year. Cleveland Browns, Brandon Weeden- The Browns cleaned house this offseason...

Review the Minnesota Vikings with Google Auto Complete

OK, OK ... Everybody settle down. Clearly, the Minnesota Vikings didn't get the 2013 season started off the way we all wanted them too. The loss to the Lions on Sunday was pretty ugly, with almost all aspects of the offense looking terrible, and the defense not faring much better. Truth be told, by the time the game ended, we were all left with more questions than answers. That...

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: Three Bold Predictions

The Chicago Bears were edged out by the Vikings for the final NFC playoff spot in 2012 but took a step towards putting that disappointment behind them last Sunday with a come-from-behind 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. As they battled in Chicago, the Minnesota Vikings stumbled in their first test of the 2013 season, losing 34-24 to the Detroit Lions.The Bears rode Jay...

Healthy Jerome Simpson produces for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The pass from quarterback Christian Ponder appeared too long and bound to overshoot receiver Jerome Simpson late in the third quarter of the Minnesota Vikings' loss Sunday at Detroit. Simpson was left to turn his back completely to the ball, almost tilting his head straight back to keep his eye on the ball and doing what he could to try and run underneath...

Links of the Day 9/9/13

There are still two games left on the NFL week!. Wild. Crazier: Soccer fans or One Direction fans? The Vikings fans are not doing well with Christian Ponder’s outing yesterday. Costa Rican’s are excellent actors. SCOREBOARD NFL New England 23, Buffalo 21 – The Bills were narrowly nipped by the Patriots with a field goal with 5 seconds left. Seattle 12, Carolina 7 – I think...

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The Chicago Bears (and Minnesota Vikings) season is now here. Now we have actual football to talk about, not just football punditocracy. In the longest and most anticipated Chicago Bears off-season in history, we spent the last six weeks quoting NFL pundits and over-analyzing what NFL talking heads have had to say.  Grab a sick bag, I’m about to make you vomit with these catch...
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