EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings don't have a secret to success, really, because their formula is so obvious.
They used it again to beat the Chicago Bears and stay in the playoff chase.
"We won the way we're designed to win,'' coach Leslie Frazier said after the 21-14 victory Sunday. "We talk all the time to our team about what Viking ball is, and today was a perfect example of it.''
They took an early lead - 14-0 midway through the first quarter - which allowed them to turn
"If we're able to build some sort of lead, I think our defense can handle pretty much any offense in the league,'' defensive end
The Vikings (7-6) have led from start to finish in six of their seven wins this season. Only the opener against Jacksonville required a late rally. Without much proof they can move the ball in a hurry with long passes, comebacks are a lot harder to make happen. So this is the way it has to be for now, as long as
The Vikings sure aren't shying away from this old-fashioned methodology, either.
"We're probably not going to win a lot of games when we throw the ball 40 times. That's not who we are. We're not going to overcome two or three turnovers in a game. That's not the way we're built right now,'' Frazier said.
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
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
"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.
He did that against the Bears, completing six of his seven passes on third downs, with four of those completions moving the chains. Ponder also zipped a perfect pass to
Leading 21-7 after
They stalled at the Chicago 41 and had to punt, but only after more than 6 minutes were taken off the clock.
"I thought we executed a lot better,'' Ponder said. "Obviously there are a few things we have to get better at and improve upon, but we're excited,'' Ponder said.