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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Green Bay, WI - Five weeks ago, not too many people would have flinched at the news of Christian Ponder's deactivation. Fast forward a few weeks, drop in a three touchdown game to close the season and a seemingly inevitable playoff berth and Vikings fans quickly realized how important Christian Ponder really is to this team.
It was 5:30pm when the first bit of bad news trickled out of the Vikings locker room. Struggling to overcome bursitis in his injured right elbow, Christian Ponder was officially ruled inactive for the Vikings Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field.
"When we worked him out before the game we just realized that he couldn't do as much as we were hoping," head coach Leslie Frazier told KFAN after the game. Frazier mentioned that it wasn't necessarily pain that was keeping Ponder sidelined but swelling that made it tough for him to make a fluid throwing motion.
However impossible as it may seem, from that moment on the Vikings night just continued to get worse and worse en route to a 24-10 loss that would end their 2012-13 season.
The Vikings were actually able to get on the board first with a Blair Walsh field goal on the opening drive of the game but from that point on, the game appeared to be too big for them on this day.
After the novelty of the read-option based offensive scheme wore off, the Vikings offense stalled with a passing game that was nearly non-existent with Joe Webb under center.
"You definitely have got to be a balanced offense," Adrian Peterson said. "We knew coming in to this game that our best odds to win this game was to be balanced like we were last week and we weren't."
Although his stats were padded late in the fourth quarter, Webb finished the day with 180 yards on 11-of-33 passing.
On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were darn near surgical in their execution. Moving the ball up and down the field seemingly at will, Rodgers didn't necessarily blow anybody away with his 274 yards Saturday night, but when he wanted it and when Green Bay needed it, he came through time and time again.
At the end of the day, the 2012 Minnesota Vikings probably over achieved. With the biggest season-to-season improvement (+7) in franchise history, the Vikings proved that they are improving at a rapid pace and can compete in the NFL on a weekly basis.
Antoine Winfield says he will be back for one more year...
Wrapping up the 14th year in his storied career, Antoine Winfield told KFAN's Greg Coleman that he plans to return to the Minnesota Vikings for another season. Despite struggling through a fractured hand the final two games of the season, Winfield proved that he can still pack a punch and is still an effective run stop corner in the NFL.