"It's kind of disappointing to be going down the same road every Sunday," Johnson said.
Ponder didn't complete a pass longer than 29 yards in any of the first four games, but the Vikings took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter fueled by the long throw that's been missing. Ponder floated a perfect pass up the sideline to Harvin, who hauled in the ball in man-to-man coverage for a 45-yard gain. The fourth-year do-it-all wide receiver then took an inside handoff and pounded his way into the end zone four plays later from 4 yards out.
Harvin's second score put the seal on this one, a highlight-reel catch and run to add to his already-impressive collection of video clips. Grabbing a quick swing pass at the line of scrimmage, Harvin used the same hesitation move twice to get overeager defenders to fly past him before bouncing into the end zone.
"A couple times they tell me, 'Slow down, I can't catch up,'" Harvin said. "I look at them and laugh and say, 'That's my job.'"
Ponder was picked off by Robert Johnson right in front of the goal line at the end of the second quarter and again by Jordan Babineaux on the first play of the second half, and with a healthy two-possession lead he settled for low-risk throws for most of the rest of the game. Except early in the fourth quarter, when he fired a 15-yard pass in double coverage that sure-handed tight end Kyle Rudolph hauled in to give the Vikings their highest score of the season.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had to talk head coach Leslie Frazier into approving that play, since the boss was more concerned about draining the clock. When it worked, Frazier had a huge smile on his face. Harvin had the rare opportunity to take his pads off and watch the last few minutes on the sideline.