This game was so out-of-hand by halftime that Fox cut away to the Atlanta-Tampa Bay game. What I did see was not encouraging, as both teams showed lots of errors but Chicago was able to capitalize on Minnesota’s errors to a much greater extent than the Vikings could with Bears mistakes.
With Percy Harvin still recovering from his ankle injury, the other wide receivers failed to step up. Jarius Wright saw more action and wasn’t bad, but Jerome Simpson gave more than enough evidence for why Cincinnati was willing to let him walk after last season — ball drops are bad at any time, but when combined with a lack of effort they’ll shorten your playing career as a receiver. Daily Norseman probably spoke for a lot of Vikings fans with this tweet:
Would cutting Jerome Simpson before the Vikings got on the plane back to Minneapolis be too harsh?
— The Daily Norseman (@DailyNorseman) November 25, 2012
Among the few Vikings who played at a high level was Adrian Peterson, who tied a team record (held by Robert Smith) with his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance. On the downside … two fumbles on the day (although one of them will go against Christian Ponder’s record instead). Ponder didn’t have a good outing, but his receiving corps made it even tougher:
So what is the drop count at for the Vikings today? Simpson 3, Carlson 2, Burton 1 …. Hard to rip Ponder when guys can’t catch.
— Judd Zulgad (@1500ESPNJudd) November 25, 2012
Dan Zinski at The Viking Age:
Where was that dominating pass rush? The Vikings were supposed to destroy the Bears’ reshuffled line. Instead the front four played like it was suffering a terrible case of turkey hangover. The Vikes managed one official sack — ONE — and that came when Jay Cutler tripped over his own lineman’s foot. Alan Williams could’ve helped out the front four by blitzing but was reluctant to do it. Maybe because he was worried that Jay Cutler would only tear up the secondary even more. Too much Cutler dancing out of the way of what pass rush there was. Too much Brandon Marshall making catches even when covered.
Wide receivers. No Percy Harvin meant a punchless passing game. And even when receivers managed to get open enough for Christian Ponder to get the ball to them…drops. Drops all over. Jerome Simpson was the worst culprit. Tell me again why he’s on the team? Stephen Burton is another useless guy. Only Kyle Rudolph and Jarius Wright made anything happen. Otherwise…blech.
Christian Ponder. The terrible receiver play makes it easier to excuse Ponder. But Ponder himself was not exactly brilliant. He sailed all his deep throws. He bailed on the pocket early. He didn’t step up. He basically reverted to the way he was before the Lions game. It’s one step up and two steps back for Ponder. But, like I said, the bad hands display by his receivers gives him an out. If you want to go down that road.