Second-year quarterback Christian Ponder has the Minnesota Vikings heading in the right direction and on the verge of matching their win total of last season.

To do so, they’ll have to end a three-game losing streak to the Detroit Lions, who are optimistic that quarterback Matthew Stafford will be healthy enough to go Sunday at Ford Field.

Ponder is second in the NFL with a 70.1 completion percentage and fifth in passer rating at 104.9. He went 21 of 35 for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-13 victory over previously undefeated San Francisco last week.

“The more plays I get, the more film I watch, it slows down and I just feel so much more comfortable in what I’m doing,” said Ponder, who also ran for a score. “And it helps when the players around you are playing so well.”

Adrian Peterson has made a remarkable recovery from a knee injury with 230 rushing yards, and wide receiver Percy Harvin has a league-high 27 receptions and is fourth in kickoff return average at 30.0 yards.

Though the Vikings (2-1) are third in the NFL with four rushing plays of 20-plus yards, they rank 29th with six completions of 20-plus yards. The season debut of speedster Jerome Simpson could help Minnesota start to stretch pass defenses.



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