Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Let me get the positives out of the way first.
Adrian Peterson is awesome. In the last three games, he's carried the ball 55 times, gained 458 yards, scored four touchdowns, and is still leading the NFL in rushing yardage with 957. He's showing that he's still every bit as great as he's ever been, and proving the doubters wrong after they said he'd never be the same again after the devastating injury he suffered on Christmas Eve.
Percy Harvin is a damn warrior. The guy gets a ton of carries, takes a ton of hits, doesn't shy away from contact, gets banged up every game, and yet you can't keep him off of the field. He's earning every cent of his paycheck this season, and continues to play his way into a huge extension this off-season.
Blair Walsh is incredible. He might already be the NFL's best kicker, with his two field goals today making him 19-for-20 for the year, and he nailed another 55-yarder this afternoon. He's pretty much an automatic touchback at this point, and opposing teams have only had one kickoff return of any real significance this season that I can recall.
Antoine Winfield is Antoine Winfield, which means he's great, and he'll always be great as long as he remains healthy and able to get onto the field.
Outside of those four players. . .and possibly Brian Robison. . .there hasn't been anybody on this team that's been any good for the last two weeks. Where's Jared Allen been? Where's Kyle Rudolph at? Has Jerome Simpson suited up?
The Minnesota Vikings have allowed 100-yard rushers in four consecutive games (Robert Griffin III, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Doug Martin, and Marshawn Lynch). That would have been unheard of a couple of years ago. Hell, it would have been unheard of a couple of months ago. Over the last four games, the Vikings can't stop the run. They can't stop the pass. They can't get off the field on third down.
Yes, I know that the popular scapegoat is going to be Christian Ponder, and that's fine. You know what? Go ahead. . .bench the guy. Put in Joe Webb. And when Joe Webb struggles, too, we can throw McLeod Bethel-Thompson out there. And when he struggles, too, we can call for the Minnesota Vikings to draft a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft, even though there's exactly one quarterback that's worthy of a first-round grade this year, and the Vikings have likely already won too many games to be a factor in getting a chance to draft him. That guy is Matt Barkley and, quite frankly, I wouldn't go anywhere near him, but that's just me.
Christian Ponder has struggled lately. Yes, he's making it difficult for this team to win football games. The thing is that there are other problems on this team, too. Tim Ryan, who was doing color commentary for today's game, noted on several occasions that nobody was getting open down the field. This team misses a ton of blitz pickups. Jerome Simpson was angry a couple of weeks ago when he was deactivated because he missed out on a roster bonus. . .frankly, if I was him, I wouldn't be bothering to pick up my paychecks, either.
If something doesn't change, this team is going to end the year on a 9-game losing streak and finish 5-11 after starting 5-2. Unfortunately, there really isn't a change right now that is going to make a ton of difference. No, not even benching Christian Ponder for Joe Webb. If people want to go around believe that it will, that's fine. That's their right. I disagree with it and, quite frankly, I'm through making the argument with people about it. Everyone knew this team was either going to sink or swim with Christian Ponder this season, and that's what's happening.
We'll talk more about this for the past couple of days, but that's really all there is for now. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.