The Vikings decided to come out of a short week and surprise everyone by beating the Redskins. As true Vikings fans we all should have seen this coming. The Vikings have a tendency to win games you never expect them to win and conversely let poor teams hang around and ultimately lose to them. In arguably their best performance of the year, the Vikings proved they are still alive and motivated, but it just all came about a week too late for any hope in resurrecting this maligned season.
Christian Ponder looked brilliant in this game and finally showed flashes of being the franchise quarterback that the Vikings hoped to draft. Instead of doing his usual routine of sitting in the pocket and not being willing to make decisions. Christian came out sharp and was the most decisive that I have ever seen in him in purple. One set of plays sums up Christianís whole game.
Late in the third quarter the Vikings were just about to cross into Redskins territory. They needed a touchdown to stay in the game. A pivotal third down presented itself and Christian came under heavy pressure. Ponder scrambled to his right and everyone in the building thought they knew what was coming next. It looked like he was going to run for it, and ultimately end up short of the first down. Instead he shocked everyone as he pulled up and threw the ball to a wide-open Jarius Wright down the sideline. First down Vikings. On the very next play Christian looked like a man possessed. Ball snap and Christian bull rushed towards the end zone. He thrust himself at the pylon in the corner like a kamikaze pilot coming in for a landing. The crowd erupted.
Christian ended up falling a half-yard short of the end zone. His effort was not wasted though. His selfless drive towards the goal line showed the competitive spirit and drive we have been looking for in the quarterback position. After the play he would leave the game with a dislocated shoulder. However, his moxie on this drive inspired the team onwards towards the touchdown and ultimately the victory.
On the other side of the ball, the Vikings continued to struggle to stop anyone on defense. Poor tackling and lack of coverage ability in the secondary looked like it was going to cost the Vikings the game. They hadnít forced a punt at home since the Carolina game. Flatly, it was time for a change. Upon forcing their first 4th down outside of scoring range since what seemed like the Reagan administration, a wind of change swept through the Metrodome. This change was led by a ferocious charge from Kevin Williams and the defensive line. Williams started at nose tackle for the first time in his illustrious career, and it paid big dividends. Williams led the defensive rally and finished with 2.5 sacks, helping the rest of his line mates to a total of 4 sacks for the defensive line. The defense once again proved to be porous and in need of an overhaul, but in the end they were able to patch just enough of an effort together to preserve the victory.
At the end of the game I sat in my seat perplexed. Just when I thought this team was going to serve me up another disappointment they surprised me and pulled out an entertaining victory, even though Frazier tried to give away the game at the end with two ill-advised and misplaced timeouts. The Vikings still managed to grab fate and cling on for the victory.
Next week the Vikings travel to Seattle to face the stout defense of the Seahawks. On paper they are going to say the Vikings have no chance at this game. Hereís hoping this group of Vikings has at least one more surprise up their sleeves in an otherwise disappointing season.