Christian Ponder's future in Minnesota is on life support. The Vikings quarterback once again struggled to get anything moving on offense against the Cleveland Browns as 63,672 fans booed Ponder on Sunday. As Minnesota continues to search for answers to the team's struggling season, running back Adrian Peterson is not ready to place blame.
The Vikings are 0-3 on the season making any chance of postseason play seem highly unlikely at this point. Ponder went 25-of-42 in passing for 228 yards and one interception. He was sacked six times for 33 yards. He failed to connect with any of his receivers as Cordarrelle Patterson put up just two catches for 29 yards and Greg Jennings has three catches for 43 yards. The performance left fans chanting for backup Matt Cassel.
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"I got his back. He scored two touchdowns and kept us in the game," Peterson said, via the Pioneer Press. "They were cheering him when he scored and booing him when a pass wasn't as good as they wanted it."
Peterson said these types of games happen, but it is critical for everyone to shake off the loss and prepare to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. He is right to not place blame so quickly. While quarterbacks are normally the top bad guy on a roster, the Vikings' offensive line did little to help him out. Ponder was on the ground more times than not and when he was standing upright, leaks in the line left him scrambling around the pocket. The defense has not offered much help either. No matter what, Peterson remains the optimist.
"We have a mature bunch with great leaders," Peterson said. "We know these games that we lost, we know how they played out, and so we just have to stay confident and keep swinging, but just swinging a lot better. We'll be OK."
Leslie Frazier told media after the game that the focus of the coming week will be inconsistencies and attempting to solve them. He stressed that a change in quarterback would not be happening despite what the fans are requesting. The head coach noted that Ponder got off to a hot start, but failed to play four quarters of football. Center John Sullivan recognizes that the offensive line needs to do more to help.
Ponder heard every chant from the fans on Sunday. The quarterback said it was impossible to miss in the Metrodome. However, he also said there was no chance that he would not remain the starting quarterback and promised improvement was the top priority.
"We want to win just as bad as the fans, and as bad as anyone else," Ponder said. "We're more disappointed than they are, and we have to give them something to cheer about."