2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know after Vikings rally past Redskins

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-11-08 02:31

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Entering the critical third year of his career, Christian Ponder contributed to Minnesota's three straight losses to start the season.

Then he broke a rib. After sitting out a game to heal, he found himself on the bench for two more weeks. His return to the lineup didn't yield much, other than two more defeats for the Vikings. This game Thursday against the Washington Redskins wasn't going well, either.

So there was Ponder, sprinting toward the goal line late in the third quarter and sacrificing his body to dive for the pylon between two Redskins defenders. The original touchdown call was reversed by replay review, and Ponder walked off with a dislocated shoulder on his non-throwing left arm.

This story had a pleasant ending for the Vikings, though. Adrian Peterson scored on the next play to give them the lead for good after Matt Cassel relieved Ponder. The defense, reversing course after a rough first half, got Robert Griffin III to throw three straight incompletions from the 4 in the closing seconds to hang on for a 34-27 victory over the Redskins.

''Winning is a great feeling,'' Ponder said. ''We expect that to continue to happen. The year is far from over.''

Ponder went 17 for 21 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Vikings (2-7), whose only other win came in London over Pittsburgh. Wearing a sling afterward, he said he expects to be ready to play Nov. 17 at Seattle. Ponder was far from perfect, but the moxie he showed in this game gave the Vikings reason to want him back by then.

''When they see that tape and see that he extended his body the way he did, it's going to increase their appreciation for who he is as a person and what he means to our team as a quarterback,'' coach Leslie Frazier said.

Griffin was 24 for 37 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers, but the Redskins (3-6) blew a 27-14 lead they had early in the third quarter. Griffin also ran seven times for 44 yards, but the Vikings took him down for four sacks for 39 yards in the second half including 2 1/2 by Kevin Williams.

This is the same record the Redskins had in 2012 before winning seven games in a row to earn the NFC East title, but their defense needs a major improvement for them to match last year's feat.

''We just need it all to come together, all to click for us, and the only way to do that is to keep pushing forward,'' Griffin said. ''What's a man to do when he goes to work every day and puts his all into it and sometimes comes up short? He still goes to work the next day, and we've got to do that.''

Here are five things we learned about the Redskins and Vikings on Thursday night:

INCREASINGLY INJURED: The Vikings played without seven of their original starters and only had enough healthy bodies to suit up 44 players, two short of the maximum, and Ponder added to the list. He said he felt better, though, after his shoulder was popped back into place, and he was in good spirits without noticeable discomfort during his postgame interview.

LACKING POISE: The Redskins were flagged eight times for 63 yards, including three for unnecessary roughness. Two of those fouls helped fuel first-half touchdown drives for Minnesota, and one in the third quarter on Darrel Young after a punt return gave the Vikings the ball at the Washington 41 to start their march for the go-ahead score.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT: Frazier called two timeouts after the 2-minute warning while the Redskins were out of them on the final drive. Several players, most demonstratively wide receiver Greg Jennings, were visibly upset after the second one with 38 seconds left. But Frazier didn't flinch in defending his decision afterward. He said the defense was tired, and he wanted some time left to score in case the Redskins tied the game.

WILL OF WILLIAMS: The Vikings also were raving afterward about the performance by Williams, their longtime defensive leader who had his first multi-sack performance since Oct. 18, 2009. Jared Allen had the other half-sack, and Everson Griffen had one by himself. The Vikings have 21 sacks this season.

LATE FADES: The Redskins led by 14 points midway through the third quarter at Denver before getting blown out on Oct. 27. They were ahead by 10 points late in the fourth quarter last Sunday before letting San Diego force overtime, only to escape with a win. This time, they wasted a 13-point edge and lost.

''We do have to find a way to put teams away, and that's the bottom line,'' Griffin said.

---

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

Julian EdelmanDec 20 06:02p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 16. Edelman didn't receive final clearance from the concussion protocol to play Sunday, Dec. 21.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

DeMarco MurrayDec 20 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) reportedly plans on playing this week despite a broken bone in his hand.

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