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PLAYOFFS
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             === Extra Points: Vikings' staff didn't help Webb ===
 
 By John McMullen, NFL Editor
 
 (Sports Network) - You might not know it after watching Green Bay dominate the
 Minnesota  Vikings,  24-10, in  their NFC  Wild Card game  at Lambeau Field on
 Saturday but Joe Webb is quite the athlete.
 
 Search  for Webb on  YouTube and you might find him jumping over seven dummies
 while  training for  the  NFL combine  in Atlanta  or  his incredible  54-inch
 standing box jump.
 
 Of  course little of that translates to an NFL football field, especially when
 the game plan devised by your coaches for you doesn't try to take advantage of
 your strengths as a player.
 
 In  hindsight Green  Bay actually  beat Minnesota  when Packers  safety Morgan
 Burnett  violently slammed  second-year Vikings  quarterback Christian  Ponder
 into the turf in the second quarter during a Week 17 Minnesota win.
 
 Ponder  was  limited in  practice all  week and listed  on the Vikings' injury
 report  as  having an elbow problem  but it was  actually a deep bruise in his
 triceps which limited the second-year pro's flexibility and hurt his velocity,
 so  much so  that a player who took  all but three snaps in the regular season
 had to tap out in favor of Webb.
 
 "It's  just  a deep contusion  in the triceps and  basically like a deep thigh
 bruise  but in  my throwing arm," Ponder  said after watching his team fall to
 the Packers. "A little bit of pain but I can play with pain. The biggest thing
 is  the lost  flexibility. I couldn't get  the ball in the position to where I
 could  throw it  normally and  lost a  lot of  power and  everything. It  just
 wouldn't have been wise to play."
 
 Ponder's  injury  spawned two distinct  feelings among the Minnesota faithful,
 who  aren't exactly  sure if  he's  the long-term  answer at  the game's  most
 important position.
 
 His  absence certainly showed that Ponder is indeed a better option than Webb,
 an  elite athlete who lacks the accuracy and overall arm strength to be an NFL
 quarterback.   However,  Ponder  certainly  angered  another  segment  of  the
 franchise's fans by not playing through the injury in what would have been his
 first playoff game.
 
 "It  just wouldn't  have been smart to  put him at risk," Vikings coach Leslie
 Frazier said. "It wasn't the right thing to do."
 
 Webb,  who knelt down once and handed off twice against Tennessee back on Oct.
 7 but hadn't thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2011, was, to be kind, erratic
 through the air against the Packers.
 
 The  former sixth-round draft pick in 2010, who played quarterback at Alabama-
 Birmingham  but was  drafted as  a wide  receiver before  being moved  back to
 signal-caller,  completed just  11-of-30 passes for 180 yards with a TD and an
 interception. He also ran the ball seven times for 68 yards.
 
 It  was the  first time since Buffalo's  Frank Reich in 1993 a quarterback had
 started  a  playoff game after not  starting during the regular season and, on
 the  Vikings  first drive of  the night, Webb flashed  some of the skills that
 had the Packers spooked. He took a few designed runs and read-option plays for
 significant  gains while  Adrian  Peterson  also did  his  part and  Minnesota
 eventually cashed in with a Blair Walsh field goal.
 
 From   that   point  forward   Vikings  offensive  coordinator  Bull  Musgrave
 inexplicably  asked the best athlete on the field to play pocket passer versus
 perhaps the top pure thrower in all of football, Aaron Rodgers.
 
 Let the head-scratching begin.
 
 Truthfully, though, it's not all that confusing.
 
 The book on Musgrave says he prepares well and gets repetitive during the guts
 of  a game. It's  no coincidence the Vikings scored on the first possession in
 each  of the  team's  final five  games. Musgrave,  a  former NFL  quarterback
 himself,  is very  inventive with  formations and  can usually  out-script the
 opposition  early but an over-reliance on the same plays makes things tough on
 whoever the signal-caller may be.
 
 The Vikings only hope on Saturday was to take advantage of Webb's unique gifts
 but after the first possession, Musgrave called the same game he would have if
 Ponder was under center.
 
 On Minnesota's first 11 offensive plays, Musgrave scripted 10 runs that gained
 66  yards, with Webb accounting for 33 on three carries. The rest of the first
 half saw the Vikings run the ball six times during 19 tries with none designed
 for Webb.
 
 After that, the game was essentially over.
 
 Despite being put in an untenable position and looking bad in the process, the
 classy Webb refused to point fingers.
 
 "We  tried  to hit  them with  some different  plays, tried  to switch it up,"
 Webb  said.  "Coach  Musgrave  had  a  good  game  plan.  It  was  a  learning
 experience for the coaches as well as the players."
 
 When asked what changed after the first drive Webb deferred.
 
 "It was successful. It was working," Webb said of the read-option. "I wouldn't
 say  it wasn't  working. But that's coach Musgrave's decision. If he wanted to
 go another route, then I was all for it."
 
 Vikings coach Leslie Frazier offered a more detailed explanation.
 
 "We  mixed  some of  those read-options  in along  the way,  but at some point
 you'd  like to be  able to complete some passes. "Early on, we did have them a
 little  bit off-balance, but we had some opportunities in the passing game and
 just didn't connect."
 
 And Frazier was being fair -- there was certainly plays left on the field.
 
 Webb  had Jerome  Simpson behind  the Green  Bay defense  on one  occasion and
 overthrew  his receiver by  about 10 yards. At times, the UAB product was high
 and  at others he  rankled the entire worm population in Green Bay by throwing
 it in the dirt.
 
 All  that was missing  by the fourth quarter was Bob Uecker making the call as
 Webb missed another receiver by five feet.
 
 "Just a bit outside."
 
 Let's  face it, the  Vikings chances of winning at Lambeau Field with a backup
 quarterback were slim.
 
 Musgrave and Frazier, however, quickly turned slim into none.
 
 
 01/06 14:35:14 ET