If you were looking for a nerve-settling performance from the Minnesota Vikings' offense on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers. . .well, you didn't get it.
The Vikings had a very up-and-down performance offensively on Sunday, having some very good moments canceled out by some pretty undisciplined play from some unlikely sources. In the end, the scoreboard showed a 34-14 loss for the Vikings, dropping them to 0-3 in the pre-season.
Adrian Peterson played just two plays for the Vikings, both coming on the team's first drive. On the third play of that drive, Christian Ponder was stripped by Ahmad Brooks, and Aldon Smith fell on it to give the Niners outstanding field position. Minnesota held the Niners to a field goal to trail 3-0.
After a couple of three-and-outs for the Vikings, the team started moving the ball downfield, but continued shooting themselves in the foot. Minnesota got the ball down to the San Francisco 29-yard line, but an unnecessary roughness penalty on Matt Kalil. . .his second of the drive. . .and a holding penalty on Phil Loadholt put the Vikings in a big enough hole to force them to punt.
One of the few Vikings' highlights came on the next drive, as Chad Greenway intercepted Colt McCoy to set the Vikings up at the San Francisco 28, and the Vikings cashed in on the short field, with Ponder finding Zach Line for a 1-yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-7.
The Vikings then proceeded to allow a 104-yard touchdown return to Lavelle Hawkins on the ensuing kickoff and found themselves back down 17-7.
Ponder wound up having a pretty decent line, stats-wise. He went 17-of-23 passing for 116 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The interception came on a play where receiver Stephen Burton pretty clearly stopped early on a slant, resulting in a deflection. (Considering that Burton is fighting for a roster spot, that was probably kind of a bad thing for him to do.) Ponder wasn't as good as his line looks, but he also wasn't as bad as a lot of the negative Nancys online will lead you to believe. Then again, with Christian Ponder, that's basically the standard at this point.
The Vikings got a bit of a scare from defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who got cut by San Francisco offensive lineman Joe Looney. Williams limped off the field, and it looked like it could have been pretty bad. He's expected to be okay, but if word comes otherwise, we will pass it along to you.
The Vikings are 0-3 in the pre-season, with their finale coming up at the Metrodome on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans. The first roster cuts will take place on Tuesday, with the team trimming their roster from 90 to 75 players.