How Else Can Ponder Disappoint?
So as the Minnesota Vikings head into the second preseason game tonight against the Buffalo Bills, the main question from all of the offseason, through training camp, and even still after the first preseason game last week, is what the hell man, Christian Ponder? Is this guy any good? When are we finally going to get any type of definitive answer about whether or not he's a starter in the NFL? I've rarely seen a player draw such contention on a team that apparently has NO position battles during camp this year as he did in 2013. All sorts of media on Twitter, websites, and blogs were either fluffing his Easter peeps up to make him sound good, or were extremely negative on the guy. In fairness, some people tried to take a level approach to him as well, but that's the exact damn problem with him. He's neither great nor awful. He's just …. Bleleeeeeuuueeehhhh …. Indifferent. Which probably isn't good enough in the NFL at the quarterback position, you know?
So while I doubt the guy has a 1:1 ratio on completions to interceptions this game like he did last Friday, seeing how he performs under extended period of time will be pretty telling for all the fans that haven't had a chance to see him during the preseason. I pray for all of us that he looks awesome.
Now, onto the rest of your Preseason Game Two preview.
Buffalo Bills – Canada's Team:
There is nothing more I like than to make fun of the Buffalo Bills by calling them Canada's team. Because, screw you Up State New York. You're not New York. You're essentially an extension of Pennsylvania or Vermont. You're so inconsequential that when you Google "New York" even the internet – which knows EVERYTHING – forgets about you and is like, "Oh, I'm sure you meant New York City, right? Where people actually live. Here are results for that." I mean, my God, even Minnesota is broken up into more distinct parcels of land than you are. Twin Cities, North Shore, Boundary Waters, That Shit to the West … How you ended up with a football team all your own, I'll never know. You clearly don't deserve it though, as you essentially play one "home" game every year in Toronto now. CANADIANS. At least bring back some maple syrup while you're at it.
In conclusion though, we both suck as teams. 0-4 Super Bowls! Join the club!
So who do you want to see improve from the first preseason game? Some players like Cordarrelle Patterson jumped out the gate fast and I'm not at all concerned about him. But there are others that are making me go wide-eyed and tightening my rectum. Here's who I'd like to see improve:
Christian Ponder: I cannot stress this enough. Look competent, for just one quarter. That's all I ask. At least do better than a stat line of "1-2, 1 interception." I need this man, I got these cheeseburgers man …
Audie Cole: I slowly realizing that Audie was being groomed as the top level back up middle linebacker for the year, but I don't know if he's earned it. I would LIKE him to earn it. I think he's a cool dude. But he looked and played slow last Friday, so I'd like to see him rebound nicely.
Toby Gerhart: There's absolutely no hope for Gerhart on this team, but I'd like to see him not look frightened like he's running through the Okra Patch every time he touches the ball. Show us your value, buddy, or we all get to meet our new back up running back, Matt Asiata.
Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Bishop, etc.: All those dudes that were injured and didn't play much last week, I want to see you play this week. Even if it's at risk of injuring you further. God dammit, I just want something close to real football again. Preseason has only been one week long, but it feels like it's been forever. This sucks.
Same and opposite type of deal from those bros that need to improve, which guys probably struck lightning last Friday and won't be able to bottle that magic again? And, will this end up hurting their chances of making the team? Here's some people to keep an eye on:
Stephen Burton: Burton looked like the next Sidney Rice out there last Friday. He's been making noise quietly over the last couple of years and this training camp, so is this some kind of voodoo indication that he's put this all together? Will he come back to Earth this week? I mean, I hope not. It'd be awesome to see him do well, but I'll remain cautious in my expectations.
Zach Line: Remember that guy who had our big, long, dick joke of a touch down last week? No? Well, that's because it was probably pretty random and likely isn't indicative of long term success. However, there's been chatter on KFAN this week about how if players like Zach Line or Rhett Ellison continue to perform well, will the Vikings release high priced Jerome Felton and keep these guys? I highly doubt it, and will fight them if they do so, but it's an interesting conversation to at least warrant you keeping an eye on Zach tonight.
Jeff Locke: He punted the ball 90 yards during training camp apparently. He also performed well last Friday, pinning the Texans inside the 20 several times. Is this a sign of long term success? Am I going to forget about Chris Kluwe and love this Chinless Wonder? Probably not, but it'd be nice if he just did his job well forever, so we'll start by at least seeing how he does tonight.
Meme of the Week:
I'm going back to the 60s Spider-Man meme this week, because I love it. This week, I feel like the nice gloves are off after the allure of football returning already happened, and we lost that game in which it did. So, now, the Vikings are technically 0-1 on the season, everything sucks, so we're done playing nice. So is Spider-Man. He's sick of your shit, kid, so hurry up and take your woods poop and let's move on, OK?
Scotch of the Week:
Hey, I can take a hint with the best of them, OK? Despite this state being filled with a bunch of beer swindling buffoons, people apparently like to feel like Rich Raven on the occasion and dabble in some scotchery. If this is the only place you know of to do that, well who the hell am I to put up road blocks to your enjoyment. So screw the stupid beer, screw the prissy mixed drinks and American bourbons (although I do love them), we'll continue to bring scotch notes until my resources run dry. So, this week, we're going back to our roots and highlight the 12 year Glen Moray. This should be a nice scotch during the summer, as one of the tasting notes I have says "if you like fruit salad and ice cream, then Glen Moray is your whisky." COOL. I like both those things. You'll notice a bit of pear and vanilla in the nose, with a nice bourbon and apple palate to it. It finishes with a little spice, and has a softer lasting coat to it, so it should be lighter and easier to knock back as the Vikings get demolished by third stringers. So best of luck with that.
Shirtless Viking of the Week:
Do we have a treat for you this week. Not only is our Shirtless Viking this week the People's Champion, Adrian Peterson, but this week's shirtless wonder also comes in GIF form! Hurray! Finally, moving pectorals on a Vikings player, rippling in the natural light, longing for your embrace and butterfly kisses. It's almost like he is running straight TO you this week, with his shirt off even. Amazing! This might go into the annals of Shirtless Vikings as one of the best ever, so …. You're welcome.
I think the Bills are going to be a sneaky team this year. It's always the people you least expect that are the serial killers (or in this case, NFL team killers? I don't know), and the Bills are certainly full of no-namers that when they beat you, you'll be pissed because it'd be like getting beat by the Timberwolves before Ricky Rubio came. But they have some pieces I like, including CJ Spiller, Mario Williams, and others. So this could be a good match up for the extended play starters to get slapped around a bit by a team we'd maybe assume we're better then, and get their mind right for the season. Point being, I think we'll lose this game, but I also – again – don't really care since it's the preseason. So …. Hope that got you excited.
Enjoy the game, folks. Drink lots of alcohol. We'll have a game thread up tonight if you're around, and our game recap on Monday. Stay alive.