Vikings Notebook: Ponder suffers discolated shoulder
MINNEAPOLIS — Christian Ponder started slowly on Thursday, but the Vikings quarterback was having one of his better games before suffering a dislocated shoulder against the Washington Redskins.
Ponder suffered the injury on a 14-yard scramble to the Washington 1 with one minute left in the third quarter.
"I got hit hard on the right side, and I think that the impact against the ground caused it (his shoulder) to come out of place," Ponder said.
The injury was to his non-throwing arm and after taking a few throws on the sidelines Ponder was taken to the locker room and did not return.
"I ran to the sidelines and they just popped it in place," Ponder said.
Matt Cassel came on and finished the scoring drive as the Vikings took a 28-27 lead, a lead they would hold onto to win for the second time in nine games. Cassel finished 4-for-6 for 47 yards.
Ponder finished 17-for-21 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Ponder's 80.9-percent completion percentage was a career high and was an all-time best by a Vikings quarterback against the Redskins. That came after he threw an interception on the game's opening drive.
"He came back and played some of his best football," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
Ponder finished with a quarterback rating of 113.1.
"I stepped up the second half and played a little better," Ponder said.
Ponder hopes to be ready to play when the Vikings face the Seahawks in Seattle on Nov. 17. Fraizer didn't say who would start — Cassel or Josh Freeman — if Ponder is not able to play.
"We'll talk about that," Frazier said.
SPEAKING OUT:The Vikings defense wasn't very good in the first half on Thursday. The Redskins rolled up 288 yards and scored 24 points. The Redskins had just four possessions in the half and had a field goal and then three touchdowns.
At the half Vikings defensive end Jared Allen tried to fire up his teammates.
"He was more fired up then I've ever seen him," Frazier said. "But we needed it. We needed a kick in the pants."
The Vikings defense responded by allowing the Redskins just a field goal in the second half and producing a game-saving goal-line stand in the final 40 seconds of play.
"We just needed to make the plays and get off the field," Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams said.
The Redskins were 9-for-10 on third downs well into the third quarter. But they were 0-for-7 the rest of the way.
"I think tackling, focus and generally locking in," linebacker Chad Greenway said of the turnaround. "We played in the second (half) how we have to keep playing."
PETERSON'S DAY:Running back Adrian Peterson had a modest 75 yards on 20 carries (3.8 average) but he had a couple of hard-nosed runs. He also had touchdown runs of 18 yards in the first quarter and 1 yard in the third.
Peterson entered the game averaging 88.9 yards rushing a game, the best in the league, but well below his stellar pace of a year ago. He now has rushed for 786 yards (4.5 average) and nine TDs in 2013.
SACK MASTER:Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams had 2.5 sacks on Robert Griffin III.
Williams and Everson Griffen had sacks on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter to force a three-and-out and Redskins punt early in the fourth quarter.
Williams entered the game no sacks this season. It was the first time he had posted a multiple-sack game since Oct. 18, 2009 against Baltimore.
"I think I've been playing the same the last couple of years, the sacks just haven't come," Williams said.
SHERELS UPDATE:Defensive back and punt returner Marcus Sherels of Rochester was in on the game-saving play when he gave Santana Moss a slight shove out of bounds on Washington's fourth-and-goal play for the Minnesota 4. That preserved the win for the Vikings.
"It was frustrating the first half," Sherels said. "We just needed to keep fighting and make plays."
Sherels didn't have a chance to return a punt in the first half. But he had two returns for 34 yards in the second half. On his 20-yard return, he almost broke loose for a touchdown.
"I think all of the blockers do a great job for me," Sherels said.
He is averaging 16.3 yards on 14 punt returns, including an 86 yarder for a touchdown.
CARLSON STEPS UP:Vikings tight end John Carlson has had his playing time increased with the foot injury to Kyle Rudolph, suffered a week ago.
Carlson responded by having his best game as a Viking. The Minnesota native caught seven passes for 98 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown from Ponder.
"Yeah, I'm excited," Carlson said. "It was fun to be involved, but obviously we miss Kyle. Kyle's a beast and we want him out there on the field."
Without Rudolph, Carlson became Ponder's go-to target Thursday.
"He took advantage of that opportunity and stepped up," Ponder said. "He's an athletic guy and a smart guy. I'm glad he had a great game."
CARTER HONORED:Cris Carter became the 22nd former Viking to be entered into the team's Ring of Honor and the second this season.
In the team's last home game, Joey Browner was honored.
Carter was an elite wide receiver for the Vikings who was named to the NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s.
He finished his career with more than 1,000 yards and 130 touchdown passes. He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and also received his HOF ring on Thursday night.
"It's a good day to be a Viking," Carter said. "It's good to be back in the Metrodome. Every since I stepped foot on this field, you fans have always made me feel at home."