Found September 22, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS - Shortly after Sunday's 31-27 loss to the depleted Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier looked every bit as defeated as his 0-3 team. Frazier scratched his head lamenting a loss in which his defense came up with four turnovers. Offensive line struggles, an inability to run on one of the league's best run defense and another failure defensively in the final minutes all contributed to the loss. But as is the case too often over the past three years, another big focus of Frazier's postgame press conference revolved around his starting quarterback. Christian Ponder, with two rushing touchdowns Sunday, wasn't the only reason Minnesota is now 0-3 after last year's surprise playoff appearance. Ponder though wasn't the answer again in what might as well have been a must-win game for the Vikings considering the upcoming schedule. And so Frazier is left to throw his support once again behind his inconsistent third-year starter and hope Ponder can rally like he did last season. "Yeah, he's still our starting quarterback," Frazier said. "We're always trying to do whatever we can to make our team better. But yeah, he's our starting quarterback." Ponder was asked if there is any doubt in his mind that he's going to be the team's starter. "Yeah, no doubt," Ponder said. Like it typically seems with Ponder, it was one step forward and two steps back, again. After coming back strong in the second half in last week's loss, Ponder was 3 of 4 on the opening drive for 52 yards and hit on two passes of more than 20 yards as Minnesota took a 7-0 lead marching 80 yards in 11 plays. For a moment, Ponder had the support of the home fans and the Vikings were following through of the expectations of getting their first win against Cleveland, which was playing third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer and had little running game to speak of after trading Trent Richardson this week. Inconsistency is the hallmark of Ponder's three seasons in the NFL. The highs Sunday included making plays with his feet, running five times for 45 yards and two touchdowns. Ponder also hit on four passes of more than 20 yards, a rarity for the usually-conservative Minnesota offense. Yet, Ponder finished 25 of 42 for 228 yards and two turnovers. He missed an open Greg Jennings on third-and-4 in the fourth quarter leading to a punt and Cleveland's eventual game-winning touchdown with 55 seconds left. "Missed him," Ponder said. "Bad throw. He was open. He did a great job on that route and beat man coverage, beat their best corner and we weren't able to convert." Ponder threw an ill-advised pass that was tipped by linebacker Craig Robertson and intercepted by safety T.J. Ward, but his target, Jerome Simpson, was covered by two defenders. With Minnesota in position to get points at the end of the first half, Ponder fumbled on a pass attempt with officials ruling his arm was not going forward for an incompletion as he was hit, and the Browns recovered to end the half. In front of a home crowd that has grown weary of Ponder's inconsistencies and the Vikings' 0-3 start, Ponder was booed nearly every time he took the field. There was a short, but loud "Cassel" chant in calling for backup Matt Cassel. "I think it's impossible to not hear them," Ponder said. "But look, we want to win just as bad as the fans, as bad as anyone else. We're more disappointed than they are. We got to give them something to cheer about." Ponder did so at times Sunday with his running ability and he said he's learned to not dwell on the mistakes. "I think that's an area where I've grown a tremendous amount, not letting one play affect the other and just going out there and trying to play and take one play at a time," Ponder said. But Minnesota has to consider what it has in Ponder, the No. 12 overall draft pick in 2011. Ponder puts the offensive struggles and his inconsistency on a lack of execution. But there's no denying Ponder is in his third season in the league and third season in the same offensive system with the same coaching staff. Meanwhile, the errors are similar too. "Good opening drive, but you got to do it for four quarters and he didn't do it today for four quarters," Frazier said. "It's going to be important that he does. It's hard to play one quarter or half at this level. It just, you got to put four quarters together as a team and as a position player and we've got to figure out a way to get that done." Ponder still has the support of his teammates, who know the issues aren't solely on Ponder's right shoulder. "I've got his back," running back Adrian Peterson said. "He scored two touchdowns and kept us in this game. They were cheering him when he scored and booing him when the pass wasn't that accurate or as good as they wanted. That's what you get and you've got to be able to fight through that." Left tackle Matt Kalil said: "We have his back all the way, so we've got to protect him. Some of those plays were our fault just as well, so we take it very rough when he gets hit. We take pride in protecting our quarterback." For now, the quarterback is still Ponder. Frazier, and the team's personnel staff with general manager Rick Spielman, needs to decide if Ponder is the player to help pull the Vikings out of their 0-3 hole. "I don't foresee that," Frazier said of the possibility of a change after evaluating the game film. "I've got to go back and look at it, see what's creating the inconsistency and why we're not executing as well as we need to in certain situations. You evaluate it and make the decision that you have to make. But as we speak, I don't see that happening." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter

Christian Ponder Continues To Struggle

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has now been intercepted five times in his first three games.Fantasy Spin:He's only thrown two touchdowns over that span. At least Ponder (25-for-42, 228 yards, one INT) had the decency to rush for 46 yards on five carries Sunday against Cleveland, though it probably wasn't enough to salvage the day for most fantasy owners.

Ponder, Vikings looking to build consistency

Christian Ponder has had a wildly inconsistent ride in his 28 starts, but the Vikings are hoping he can build off his second half from last Sunday and make that the norm.

Holler: Will Wilfs listen to fans?

Vikings fans were angry and booing Christian Ponder off the field after failed drives. Leslie Frazier isn’t inclined to make a change yet, but with the Vikings owners in attendance Sunday in the Metrodome, they had to have heard the booing of Ponder.

Adrian Peterson Thinks Booing Christian Ponder is Unfair

The Vikings are off to a not so hot 0-3 start and the fans are understandably turning their anger towards QB Christian Ponder. Even though he had a couple nice athletic TD runs yesterday, fans don’t view him as the answer at QB. However, their star RB Adrian Peterson believes it’s unfair: “I got his back. He scored two touchdowns and kept us in the game,” Peterson said...

Adrian Peterson: Boos Directed at Christian Ponder are Unfair

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder isn’t very good. Doesn’t take an NFL expert to realize that. Even before he was drafted in the 1st rounds (way too high) I always thought his ceiling was at best a game manager. In the mold of Mark Sanchez with those AFC Championship Jets squads. The Vikings are 0-3 […]

Minnesota Vikings faked out by Cleveland Browns, 31-27

Despite showing some flashes of promise in the first quarter, the Minnesota Vikings (0-3) were unable to hold their own agains the Cleveland Browns (1-2), stumbling to defeat after yet another series of head-scratching gaffes and miscues. Inconsistent offense The Vikings came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Christian Ponder completed four […]The post Minnesota...

Vikings report card: too many empty turnovers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Leslie Frazier summarized the Minnesota Vikings' 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday when asked what it would take for Minnesota to get a win after its 0-3 start to the season.We're getting a lot of turnovers, Frazier said. To come away with four turnovers again and just not win two weeks in a row with four turnovers, it just makes you scratch your...

Defenses to Stream in Week 4

If you implemented the wait on a defense plan, then you may be looking for a defense to play this week.  I will look at 3 defenses that are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo fantasy leagues and that could be good plug and play options this week. Chiefs vs Giants The Giants offense is reeling and going to Arrowhead to play a tough Chiefs D coming off of 10 days rest is not the...

Changes? Vikings unlikely to make many

Leslie Frazier said change for change’s sake isn’t a good idea. Jerome Felton is coming back and Desmond Bishop could see a bigger role, but it doesn’t sound like a quarterback switch is coming.

Referees err in Browns-Vikings game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Referee Bill Leavy mistakenly penalized the Minnesota Vikings after coach Leslie Frazier tried to challenge a ruling on a muffed punt in the second quarter of Sunday's game against Cleveland. It was the second big miscue for Leavy's crew in the season's first three weeks. When Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin muffed the punt, Vikings linebacker...

Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings: Odds, Point Spread, Over/Under and tv info

Someone will win Sunday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings. Despite denying reports that they are tanking the season the Brows traded away running back Trent Richadson and will start third string quarterback Brian Hoyer for this game. Things are not exactly going right for the Vikings either. They are 0-2 and questions are again circulating about the ability...

Injuries beginning to mount in Vikings secondary

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings were packing up for their evening trip to London on Monday but had a few last minute medical tests to get out of the way. Cornerbacks Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson and starting safety Jamarca Sanford were all scheduled to have magnetic resonance imaging tests Monday after being hurt and unable to finish in Sunday's loss to the Cleveland...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.