Ponder and Frazier React To Sunday's Loss, Plus Game Notes

Posted Sep 22, 2013

Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder

It’s obviously very disappointing. Never did we think we would start off 0-3, that we’d lose at home. You have to hand it to Cleveland, they’re a good team, stout front. It’s all on our shoulders. We lost this game. We had it. Could have done some more things throughout every quarter, especially in the fourth quarter to secure victory and we didn’t do it. As a group we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and change this around quickly. We are going to make sure this doesn’t steam roll and snow ball downhill because this season is going to start moving quickly and we have the veteran leadership in the locker room to change things around. We just have to come to work and make sure the things are fixed.

Q: What changed as the game went on that made it tough for the offense?

A: Let’s give them credit, they’re a good defense, but in reality it’s just our lack of execution. We need to execute for four quarters and we can’t have the ups and downs. We’ll have to look at the film and see how we can execute better. We have to get better in the passing game, we have to complete balls and we have to do a better job in the running game as well.

Q: On that third and five it looked like Greg Jennings had some separation. What did you see there?

A: I missed him. It was a bad throw. He was open and did a great job on that route and beat man coverage, beat their best corner but we weren’t able to convert.

Q: How much did the two three-and-outs towards the end of the game hurt you guys?

A: It hurt a lot. We want to keep us on the field and run down the clock and keep their offense off the field so we can win the game. It’s something we worked on all training camp and we talk about it every Friday, our four-minute offense. We just didn’t execute it and we gave them the opportunity to win the game and they did so.

Q: The defense generated four turnovers and you only had 10 points off turnovers. Is it your job to make sure you get points?

A: Yeah it is. We want to score every chance we get, especially when there’s a turnover. Our defense played well and we have to make sure we do a better job of that and make sure that we don’t turn the ball over. The defense played well and we had the opportunity to put up more points than we did.

Q: Did you hear the chants for Matt Cassel?

A: I think it’s impossible to not hear them. We want to win just as bad as the fans and as bad as anyone else. We’re more disappointed than they are and we have to give them something to cheer about.

Q: How do you guys pull things together from here on out?

A: We have to have that understanding that we are disappointed, but in this league you can’t let one week effect the next week. I think we understand we have a ton of good players, we have a ton of talent. We just have to keep finding what it’s going to take to fix what we’re doing. We have this game in London, it’s going to be a trip where we have to stay focused and we’re playing a great team in Pittsburgh and we’re going to have to make sure we prepare well and then we have the bye week. But we need to secure a victory and change this around.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you need to turn around now? Is it consistency?

A: I’m not sure. The whole thing is lack of execution and we’ll have to see on the film what the deal is. I think all 22 guys and special teams can all play better, especially the offense. We can control what we can control and we have to fix it otherwise we’re going to be 0-16.

Q: What specifically do you have to do running and passing to get better?

A: We’ll see the film and see exactly what we’ll have to fix, but it’s just execution. We have to complete balls and make blocks, there’s a ton of things we can do better.

Q: Why did you throw a bad ball on that third and five? Was it because of pressure?

A: It was quick throw and we’ll have to see on film, I don’t know. I kind of changed my throwing angle a little bit and I just missed him. That’s typically a ball I can complete 99 out of 100 times and unfortunately that was the one miss.

Q: Did you change the throwing angle because of the pressure?

A: I don’t know, I don’t know if there was a guy in the window, it was all reaction. We will have to see on the film exactly what happened.

Q: How frustrating is an 0-3 start.

A: I mean it’s frustrating. The fact that as a team and myself we aren’t playing as well we can. To go and play like we did last year and then to come out and have an 0-3 start it’s very disappointing and very frustrating. Not what we expected, again we have to change it, there is nothing like winning and that is the ultimate goal every time we step out on the field is to win. When you have a different result, it’s very disappointing and we could pinpoint a number of things throughout all four quarters that we could have done better.

Q: Personally do you feel like you’re doing a good enough job putting the bad plays behind you and moving on?

A: Absolutely, I think that that’s an area where I’ve grown a tremendous amount. Not letting one play affect the other and try and take it one play at a time.

Q: There were a few times that you showed a little more emotion than you usually do?

A: It was a game situation and I get into it a little bit, it just happened a couple of times. It’s fun to play this game, at the same time you can feel the energy, everybody’s will and want to win the game and sometimes you just get caught up in the emotions.

Q: Is there any doubt in your mind that you will still be the starting quarterback?

A: No doubt.

Q: Does this make the London week hard?

A: Yeah, you always want to win. It makes today hard, it makes tomorrow hard, but by tomorrow afternoon we are moving on to Pittsburgh. Especially on that flight our focus is on to the next game. That is how this league works, you have got to move on win or loss to the next week.

Q: Good timing to be going overseas?

A: Either way, it’s not a good time or a bad time. It’s just another game for us. It’s just a longer flight. We are going to have to do a good job of staying focused, I mean this a business trip. We’re not going out to have a vacation.

Q: You probably know already that the pocket was pretty un-stable.

A: I don’t know. That is one thing that is a benefit for me, is my feet and my ability to move around and make plays. I didn’t do as good of a job as I could have today, but they are one of the best front seven in the league and they are going to make plays.

Head Coach Leslie Frazier

Tough loss for our football team, our home opener and to come up on the short end. It definitely hurts, disappointed for fans that we didn’t play better and we’ve got a lot of things to try and figure out, try and play better. Injury-wise Chris Cook left the game with a groin and A.J. Jefferson had an ankle and Jamarca Sanford left the game with a hamstring and that was the extent of it injury-wise.

Q: Did you expect the gadget plays from Cleveland that worked and did you see it on film?

A: You know in their situation that it’d be like that, that’d there be some unorthodox moments with the situation they were in and we didn’t handle it very well. It cost us obviously.

Q: That’s the second game in a row that the two-minute defense has given up a game-winning touchdown. What’s going on there?

A: You’ve got to make some plays you know. Only call what you call and guys got to make plays and we didn’t make plays when we had opportunities to and they did. They executed better than we did.

Q: How much did it hurt with your offense going three-and-out in back-to-back trips?

A: Yeah I mean that’s part of it, it’s a team game. We had some opportunities even on that final third-and-five. If you want to be a good team you’ve got to take advantage of that situation and we didn’t. We punt from backed up, they get good field position and go down and score.

Q: Was that third-and-five just a bad pass?

A: I’ve got to look at the play and see but it looked like Greg (Jennings) had created some separation. I’ll look at it and see but from where I was standing on the sideline it looked like he had some separation.

Q: How do you account for the line having the issues they are?

A: We’re counting on our offensive line to play for us well each week and it seemed like Cleveland was in our backfield a lot, they a lot of pressure on our passing game with their four guys rushing and sometimes five. It’s going to be hard to function as an offense if we can’t protect better. How to explain it? It’s hard to explain it. We’ve got to get it fixed somehow. We’ve got to get it fixed like right now.

Q: Can you talk about throwing the challenge flag on that punt?

A: It turned out to be a muff which you can’t review. It should have been a timeout, they walked off 15 (yards), I’m not sure why, but I can’t throw the red flag in that situation.

Q: How did the guy go unaccounted for on the fake field goal?

A: We didn’t recognize it. We didn’t recognize that he was over there hiding out and they did a better job of executing there. We didn’t see it.

Q: Christian seemed like he started off well with that second half. Was he getting in a groove?

A: Yeah, got off to a good start, good opening drive but you know you’ve got to do it for four quarters and he didn’t do it today for four quarters.

Q: How much of the issues with the run offense has to do with their run defense? Or is it scheme issues with missing Jerome Felton?  

A: They did a good job on run defense and we knew coming in they were pretty stout up front. We didn’t really create the holes we were hoping to and credit to their defense, they did a good job.

Q: How do you try and pull things together to make sure you don’t fall off a cliff?

A: That’s what we’ll have to do. We dug ourselves a hole for sure. You can only play them one at a time and I’ve got get the guys to see that and understand that and be ready to play when we line up next week. We’ve got to, obviously, tweak some things and get some things corrected but we’ve got some high-character guys, I think they’ll respond the right way. I think we’re responding, we’re just not playing well, we’re just not playing well enough to win.

Q: Does leaving the country to play a game in London help? 

A: It’s just what it is. We’ve got to go to London and get ourselves a win. Wherever we play next week we’ve got to get a win.

Q: Are the injuries to the secondary something that you are concerned about? 

A: You know when we get muscle pulls in the secondary that affects us. You don’t want to start getting into your depth this early in the season and losing Jamarca and Chris and potentially A.J. that’s a concern. We’ll have to see how they progress over the course of the week and just means that other guys will have to step up and play well for us. 

Q: You weren’t expecting Marcus Sherels and the others to get in there. How would you assess their play? 

A: I thought Sherels did a good job. He made some plays, got his hands on some balls, really competed hard like he always does and put himself in a good position. I thought Marcus did a good job. I thought (Andrew) Sendejo did some good things as well when he got in there. Those guys they stepped up and tried to make some plays.

Q: Are there times when Christian doesn’t see guys open and solely relies on check downs? 

A: We had some things called downfield. We took some shots, we didn’t connect. We had the one where it looks like Jarius (Wright) runs into a defender and we were really concerned about that one but we wanted to take some shots and he did throw the ball downfield at times and  we just weren’t able to connect.

Q: Are you able to make heads or tails why he’s not able to put four quarters together? 

A: It’s going to be important that he does. It’s hard to play one quarter or half at this level. You’ve got to put four good quarters together and as a team and as a position player we’ve got to find a way to get that done. 

Q: Is Christian still your guy right now?  

A: Yeah. He’s still our starting quarterback. We’re always trying to do whatever we can to make our team better but he’s our starting quarterback.

Q: How disappointing is it with the overall mental errors?  

A: Today especially so. When you play at home and take a lot of pride of winning here at Mall of America Field and to come up short and make some of the mistakes that we made we’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to get it turned around. We don’t want to be losing home games. It’s just not a good thing.  

Q: You were playing Marcus and A.J. over Xavier Rhodes. Is that just because of comfort in the base defense?

A: Just leaving Xavier where he is in the nickel spot. He’s getting a ton of reps in the nickel defense because we’re in nickel a lot. It worked out fine the way we did it.

Q: Is this as deflating as a loss as you’ve had?

A: You know the home opener, with things we want to achieve this season, to not get it done, frustrating but you’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got another game next week. We’ll handle it right, we can get it turned, but it’s definitely frustrating for sure.

Q: What will you have to improve on offense and defense to get a win?

A: Well you can’t turn the ball over. We’ve got to play one game without turning it over. I think we’ve done that in three games. We’re doing a good job against the run, they had some reverses and the 3rd-and-30 when he got some plus yards so we’re better in the run. We’re getting a lot of turnovers. 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 head. That usually doesn’t happen. We can’t give it away, we’re taking it away. We can’t allow some of the things that happened on special teams. They got 10 points on special teams errors, a field goal and the touchdown. We’ve had some special teams breakdowns the last three ball games. We’ve got some things we’ve got to fix in order to be a winning football, to win a game in the NFL. We’ve got to get it fixed in a hurry.

Q: We saw a heavy dose of Cordarrelle. What’s your assessment of him?

A: It looks like without watching tape he did a good for us. He was assignment sound, he was where he supposed to be, ran good routes. It looked like he did a good job.

Q: Is there anything that could happen when watching tape that would make you change quarterbacks?

A: I don’t foresee that. I’ve got to go back and look at it and see what created the inconsistency in why we’re not executing as well as we need to in certain situations. You evaluate and make the decisions you have to make but as we speak I don’t see that happening.

NFL Official Bill Leavy

Q: On the change of possession that was it ruled a muff? Did you feel that he touched the ball?

A: The ruling on the field was that there was no possession by the receiving player, therefore it was a muffed kick and could not be advanced by the kicking team.

Q: Just to clarify, he has to touch it before it becomes a live ball?

A: No, he has to touch it and then the other team can possess it, but they can’t advance it. If he possessed the kick and then fumbled, the ball could be advanced.

Q: Why was that only a booth review play?

A: That is the rule as far as changes of possession. If a punt is touched, if we rule a punt touched by the receiving team and then recovered by the kicking team only the booth can review that play.

Q: Is it automatically reviewed on a change of possession?

A: It is automatically reviewed, yes.

Q: It’s my impression that the rule that was put in place after the Jim Schwartz situation last year is that on automatically reviewed plays that if it is challenged inappropriately that it does not result in a penalty, but in a lost timeout.

A: A timeout should have been charged in lieu of fifteen yards.

Q: So that was a missed call on the part of the officials?

A: A timeout should have been charged instead of a fifteen yard penalty.


Kevin Williams set a team record for most starts in a career by a DT.

1)  158 Kevin Williams, 2003-13

2)  157 Alan Page, 1967-78

3)  150 John Randle, 1990-2000


Christian Ponder scored his fourth career rushing touchdown and ranks tied for second for most in a game by a QB.

1) 3 Daunte Culpepper vs. Chicago, 9/3/2000

2t) 2 Christian Ponder vs. Cleveland, 9/22/2013

2t) 2 Tarvaris Jackson vs. Washington, 12/23/2007

2t) 2 Daunte Culpepper @ Detroit, 9/21/2003

2t) 2 Daunte Culpepper @ New Orleans, 12/15/2002

2t) 2 Daunte Culpepper vs. Detroit, 10/14/2001

2t) 2 Joe Kapp @ San Francisco, 12/8/1968

2t) 2 Fran Tarkenton vs. San Francisco, 10/30/1966


Chad Greenway intercepted his seventh (7th) career pass which moves him into ninth (9th) place among linebackers.

Erin Henderson had his first game with two (2) sacks.  His career total is now 6.5.

Adrian Peterson moved into second place for most starts by a Vikings RB.

1) 111 Bill Brown, 1962-74

2)  85 Adrian Peterson, 2007-13

3)  84 Chuck Foreman, 1973-79


Adrian Peterson becomes the first Vikimg player to surpass 1,800 rushing attempts in a career.

1)  1,823 Adrian Peterson, 2007-13

2)  1,627 Bill Brown, 1962-74

3)  1,529 Chuck Foreman, 1973-79

Christian Ponder moves into fifth (5th) place for most consecutive games started by a QB.

1)  40 Fran Tarkenton, 9/18/72 - 12/1/1974

2)  39 Fran Tarkenton, 12/8/63 - 11/13/1966

3t) 34 Fran Tarkenton, 10/22/61 - 11/24/1963

3t) 34 Daunte Culpepper, 10/19/03 - 10/30/2005

5) 29 Christian Ponder, 10/23/11 - 9/22/2013

6) 28 Brett Favre, 9/13/09 - 12/5/2010

Christian Ponder becomes only the third (3rd) QB to reach 500 completions in first three seasons.

1) 882 Warren Moon, 1994-96

2) 532 Daunte Culpepper, 1999-01

3) 517 Christian Ponder, 2011-13

Christian Ponder becomes only the third (3rd) QB to reach 100 rushing attempts in first three seasons.

1) 163 Daunte Culpepper, 1999-01

2) 125 Fran Tarkenton, 1961-63

3) 103 Christian Ponder, 2011-13