Ponder's performance — 18 of 28 for 236 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a lost fumble — has grabbed most of the attention and criticism this week. But the porousness of the offensive line, coupled with the struggles on defense against dynamic Lions offense, have served to ease some of the burden on the unproven quarterback's shoulders.
Frazier, Peterson and receiver Greg Jennings were all adamant that the loss to the Lions was a team-wide failure and that concentrating on Ponder's woes was unfair.
"It wasn't just him," Jennings said. "He can't win the game for us. He can't lose the game for us. Trust me. That's the tough role that he has. If we play well, Christian looks great. If we don't play well, Christian will not look great. ... He doesn't bear the whole load."
If Ponder is going to succeed in his second season as a starter, he has to get the protection up front that the Vikings expect from a veteran group that returns all five starters.
"We know that they're motivated and they're great players, and we're going to get it corrected," Ponder said. "And there's some things that I can do better, that everyone can do better; the running backs, the receivers and it's something as an offense we can correct as a whole."
It doesn't get much easier this week against Julius Peppers and the Chicago Bears. And the Vikings know an 0-2 start, with two losses in the NFC North, would put them in a big hole right out of the gate.
"There's going to be some wrinkles the first few weeks of football," Kalil said. "As it was last year, we'll get better throughout the season. We'll keep getting better and I think we're real confident this week."
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