NFC North: Mario Haggan
December, 4, 2011
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
A few thoughts on a wild game at the Metrodome with the Broncos winning 35-32:
What it means: In shades of their early-season struggles, the Minnesota Vikings lost another halftime lead and found a way to lose this game at the end. They are 2-10 and the best news is that they maintained their position near the top of the 2012 draft.
PonderWatch: We saw the best and worst of rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, who threw for 381 yards and three scores but also had two game-defining interceptions. Part of me wants to give Ponder credit for that kind of production in the absence of tailback Adrian Peterson. Ponder also appeared to be playing on a gimpy leg. But he threw his first interception into the hands of Mario Haggan, resulting in a 16-yard return for a score. And his second put the Broncos in position for Matt Prater's game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired.
HarvinWatch: Receiver Percy Harvin, who missed practice Friday because of an illness, was the Vikings' big playmaker in the absence of Peterson. Harvin turned two short passes into long touchdown plays in the second half and finished with 156 receiving yards. He also took another five carries out of the backfield. I like the way the Vikings are using Harvin on offense under new coordinator Bill Musgrave.
Secondary woes: When Tim Tebow completes 10 of 15 passes against you for 202 yards and two scores, and isn't intercepted, you know you've got some issues in your secondary. Rookies Brandon Burton and Mistral Raymond saw plenty of action and, not surprisingly, struggled at times. The biggest insult: The Broncos' offense scored 28 points using basically a traditional offense. They didn't need to resort to the option and Tebow had only four carries.
Highlight reel: Rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph gave fans something to think about for the future by reaching over safety Quinton Carter to haul in a 19-yard touchdown reception. You can't ask more from a tight end in the red zone than to render the defender helpless with his size.
What's next: The Vikings will play at the Detroit Lions next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.