Adrian Peterson did all he could Sunday to get the Vikings a crucial win in Green Bay. Unfortunately for him, he did not get any help from the rest of his offense.
Despite Peterson's 210 yards on the ground, the Vikings lost to Green Bay, 23-14, an inept passing game proved too much to overcome. How bad was that Minnesota aerial attack? Christian Ponder did not complete a pass to one of his wide receivers until the 2:50 mark of the fourth quarter.
Ponder also went nearly 40 minutes of game time -- seriously -- between completions. He connected on five passes during a drive that ended with a Ponder-to-Kyle Rudolph 7-yard TD early in the second quarter, then did not throw another completion until there were less than four minutes left in the game. Ponder needed another minute still before hitting a receiver for the first time Sunday, a drought he ended by connecting with Jerome Simpson for 18 yards.
A couple of late passes, with the game out of reach, brought Ponder's yardage total through the air to 118 on the day, allowing him to avoid his third sub-100-yard performance of the season.
Peterson, meanwhile, continued to stake his claim for Comeback Player of the Year, rumbling for 130 yards before halftime. That number was buoyed by a highlight reel-worthy 82-yard touchdown scamper, which Peterson created out of almost nothing.
With Percy Harvin out of the lineup for the third straight week, the Vikings have very few weapons to turn to aside from Peterson. And this has been Minnesota's struggle all season long, even when Peterson and Harvin are on the field together -- aside from Rudolph, Ponder still has yet to develop a reliable rapport with the likes of Michael Jenkins, Jarius Wright and Devin Aromashodu.
Minnesota's inability to stretch the field with the passing game made that early 10-0 Green Bay lead Sunday look massive. While the Vikings quickly rallied back, the combination of Harvin's extended absence and Ponder's misfires (he killed an early third quarter drive with an awful interception, one play after a huge Peterson run) could spell doom to Minnesota's playoff hopes.
Ponder certainly did his team no favors Sunday, as the Vikings' miserable passing attack imploded yet again.