Ponder's poise key to Vikings stunner
MINNEAPOLIS — Christian Ponder didn't flinch against that feisty, swarming San Francisco defense.
Minnesota's flourishing young quarterback and former Florida State star engineered a stunning victory. Ponder threw two touchdowns to tight end Kyle Rudolph and ran for another score to help the Vikings hand the 49ers their first defeat.
"It's big, more for people outside this organization than us. We're already confident in what we can do," said Ponder, who went 21-for-35 for 198 yards and, most important, no turnovers or sacks.
"It's huge for the rest of our season. It's a springboard," Rudolph said.
The Vikings began boldly with a fourth-and-goal touchdown by Ponder to his favorite target, Rudolph. They forced three turnovers and two punts in a wild fourth quarter slowed in part by more blunders by replacement officials. Twice in a six-play span, the 49ers were incorrectly allowed to withdraw a called timeout to challenge a play instead.