If Adrian Peterson rushed for 200 yards tonight and one touchdown, would a 197 yard, two touchdown, no interception night from
Christian Ponder Joe Webb be good enough to beat the Packers?
In the first go around of this three game trilogy Peterson gashed the Packers at Lambeau for 210 yards and a touchdown, Ponder was intercepted in two red zone opportunities that were set up by Peterson. Let’s take one of those interceptions away and Minnesota is at least going to get a Blair Walsh field goal out of it, so right off the bat the Vikings would have lost by only six. Say he doesn’t throw any interceptions. The momentum of the game would be totally different and possibly even resembled what we saw in week 17.
There are two big x-factors for the Vikings tonight and surprisingly their not named Adrian Peterson. One is
Ponder Webb, the other is Jarius Wright. Last week Leslie Frazer filled in the role once cast by Percy Harvin with a once unknown fourth round Wide Receiver from Arkansas. He gave a fantastic first performance: three catches, 90 yards, and one touchdown. More importantly the plays that had been collecting dust in the playbook since week ten were finally able to be cleaned off. The wide receiver lined up as a half-back lob throw that were the key plays that Minnesota needed to make to get to a 10-6 record.
Ponder was able to thrive on those short passes which in turn gave him the confidence to throw that 65 yard bomb to Wright. Without that throw the Vikings aren’t in the playoffs, As the NBC Sports Network tells us, that was the turning point.
Peterson will still have to another super human/cyborg/a smaller in stature Eric Dickerson like/game if the Vikings want to pull off what would be the biggest upset of wild card weekend. In an odd turn of events however,
Ponder Webb really has the fate of the team in his hands. If he can somehow mimic his performance from week 17 the Packers would be in for a classic NFC North fight. If Webb can somehow pull off something bigger than a miracle the Packers could (small chance, but still!) be in for a tough first half.
Yet, even if the Vikings play their best game of the season, it still might not be enough because the Packers have a quarterback who happens to have the best TD-INT ratio in the regular season and the third best completion percentage. The two quarterbacks in front of Rahhdgers? Peyton Manning (68.6) and Matt Ryan (68.6). Rodgers’ completion percentage was 67.2. And now we know that Ponder will miss the wild card round of the playoffs leaving Joe Webb as the potential savior.
Webb’s highlight performance was at Lincoln Financial Field on Tuesday Night Football in week 16 two seasons ago. On that night he was 17 of 26 for 195 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in a 24-14 win over a leaking Philadelphia Eagles team. Webb started two more games that season and lost to NFC North rivals Detroit and Chicago. In his career Webb has thrown three touchdowns and seven interfcptions.
And don’t forget that Randall Cobb, the guy Rodgers said “is a star in making,” is coming back at a reported 100% tonight. It would be a great story if the Vikings won especially now with Joe Webb at quarterback, but isn’t it a better story if the Packers were to run the NFC table giving us Rodgers vs. Manning or Brady advertisements?
Is there any way NBC can order up some snow tonight?
Follow me on twitter @scottdargis
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org