Christian Ponder (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
Christian Ponder was looking forward to putting behind him what was likely the worst performance of his young career. Plus, what’s the latest with TE John Carlson and his multiple concussions, and who was practicing with a short week of healing and preparation for Thursday’s game?
Christian Ponder “buzzed through” Sunday’s film of what was arguably the worst performance of his young career, but he was ready to quickly turn his focus to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings’ Thursday night opponent.
“I’ve already moved on. We’re not thinking about Arizona anymore at all. It’s such a quick turnaround,” Ponder said.
“I know I need to make a big progression from Sunday to Thursday.”
Ponder was anticipating a long day at work Tuesday, two days before the Vikings take their turn at Thursday Night Football this year and two days after he completed only 8 of 17 passes for 58 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
“This is a unique week. I think I definitely buzzed through (the film) pretty quickly,” Ponder said. “I obviously watched it, but buzzed through it pretty quickly (Monday) and then moved right on to the Tampa film.”
Ponder declined to get into specifics of what went wrong for him personally in a game that the Vikings ended up winning 21-14 largely on the backs of two factors: Adrian Peterson’s best performance since he returned from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last year, and a defense that had seven sacks, a forced fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown.
But, despite Ponder’s lackluster numbers of late – he hasn’t had a passer rating above 90 in the last month (it was 35.5 Sunday) – the Vikings have won three of their last four games and have won all four of their home games this year.
“To be 6-2 in the first half (of the season) would be huge,” Ponder said. “… A year ago, we were 2-6 at this point. To have flipped that around would be good for us.”
CARLSON NOT A LONG-TERM CONCERN
TE John Carlson wasn’t at Tuesday’s practice and isn’t expected to play Thursday after suffering his second concussion in two years and the fourth since he enrolled at Notre Dame.
Carlson took a hit to the helmet from Arizona’s Rashad Jennings that could draw a fine from the NFL, but Frazier said “at this point” he hasn’t been told the multiple concussions are a long-term concern.
“None of the doctors have indicated to me that it’s something we have to be concerned about long-term,” Frazier said. “There will be a lot more discussions because he hasn’t been cleared yet, but at this point, no, not a concern about his long-term future.”
Frazier said he and Carlson talked Tuesday morning.
“John’s a very level-headed guy. He understands where he is in respect to his history with concussions,” Frazier said. “Our major concern is his health. He knows that and we’re going to do all we can to help him and help our team as well and assist him in recovering from this concussion. But he’s not down. He has a good frame of mind. He’s been through this before.”
ROOKIE, RUSHING NOMINATIONS
Vikings safety Harrison Smith is one of five players nominated for the Pepsi Max Rookie of the Week.
Smith recorded his first career interception, which he returned 31 yards for a touchdown, as the Vikings beat the Arizona Cardinals 21-14. Smith also added five tackles.
Fans can cast their vote at NFL.com/rookies.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was also nominated for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. Peterson rushed for 153 yards on 23 carries and scored one touchdown against the Cardinals.
Fans can vote for that award at NFL.com/FedEx until 2 p.m. Central Friday.
In addition to Carlson missing practice, Peterson didn’t participate in Tuesday’s practice because of an ankle injury that he has played through the past two games. He is expected to play Thursday.
“We’ll probably hold him back a little bit (Tuesday) and get some work and go through our mock game-type situations (Wednesday),” Frazier said before Tuesday’s practice. “We won’t do a whole lot with him.”
DE Jared Allen (groin) was practicing, at least on a limited basis, and is also expected to play Thursday. “He is a little sore, like most of our guys are. We’ll monitor his reps as well.”
The Vikings were also proceeding cautiously with WR Percy Harvin, who has been dealing with soreness the last few weeks. “We’ll monitor his (practice) reps as well. We won’t overtax him knowing we’re in a short week,” Frazier said. Harvin still practiced fully and wasn't listed on the injury report.
DE Jared Allen (groin), CB Antoine Winfield (knee), LT Matt Kalil (low back), S Mistral Raymond (ankle) and S Harrison Smith (calf) were limited Tuesday. The Vikings also listed players on the injury report who practiced fully: S Robert Blanton (hamstring), LB Marvin Mitchell (calf), QB Christian Ponder (knee), RB Matt Asiata (knee), DT Fred Evans (knee) and WR Jerome Simpson (low back/foot).
The Bucs listed five players on their injury report and all practiced fully: LB Andrew Hayward (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (calf), CB Brandon McDonald (ankle), G Carl Nicks (foot) and C Jeremy Zuttah (quadriceps).
Once again, the Vikings were doing the practice squad shuffle with two players. DE Ernest Owusu was signed back to the practice squad and OL Tyler Holmes was waived from the practice squad.
Pro Bowl voting is now open for fans at NFL.com/probowl. Voting goes through Dec. 17 with the game being played on Jan. 27, 2013.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.