EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —
Minimizing turnovers, of course, is the other prerequisite for this strategy. While the Vikings netted 100 yards passing or less for the fourth time this season on Sunday, they posted their third win in those situations.
These days in the NFL, winning while throwing so little is almost unfathomable, but that’s what the Vikings have been doing. Ponder was picked off once, another bad ball off his back foot that fell well short of intended target Jarius Wright, but that came with 32 seconds left in the first half at the Chicago 20. It wasn’t in the end zone, like last week at Green Bay, and it wasn’t in Minnesota’s territory to give the Bears good field position.
Frazier said again Monday he believes a championship can be had with this blueprint, but Ponder’s performance since the first month of the season has provided plenty of evidence that it won’t work without improvement in the second-year quarterback’s footwork, throwing mechanics and decision making.
“Whether it be moving around in the pocket, stepping up or moving to the left or to the right, all these things are part of him being successful,” Frazier said. “We’re always working on his fundamentals and his technique at the position, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Ponder finished 11 for 17 for just 91 yards. He’s averaging exactly the same amount of yards per passing attempt — six — as Peterson is per rush. Frazier went out of his way to praise Ponder for what he did against the Bears, but without Percy Harvin the Vikings only appeared comfortable with Ponder rolling out on bootlegs or throwing short passes underneath the coverage on play-action fakes to Peterson.
“He has to be comfortable in the pocket. He has to be sure of himself, and he has to make certain throws in order for us to be successful,” Frazier said, acknowledging the impossibility of victory without at least some contribution from Ponder.