Here's how key Vikings rookies performed during Monday's loss to the Packers.
QB Christian Ponder: He had the worst game of his young career. The Packers blitzed him repeatedly, and he didn't recognize it until it was too late. He had no feel in the pocket and missed some throws. He attacked Charles Woodson too much, as well, and Woodson almost had two interceptions had he been able to hold on to the ball. Ponder was bound to have a poor game sooner or later, and Dom Capers' defense had the right game plan to force it.
TE Kyle Rudolph: He wasn't involved early, as he was targeted only once before the Vikings' final drive of the game. But when he got his opportunities on that final drive, he made the most of them. He made a spectacular one-handed catch, when he snared the nose of the football out of mid-air with two defenders draped over him. Rudolph's talent is apparent, but he's had an inconsistent role in the offense. The Vikings' offense needs more playmakers, and Rudolph could be one if he becomes more involved.
DL Christian Ballard: Ballard had his best game of the season, playing well against the run in his snaps. He did a good job of shedding blocks and pursuing the ballcarrier, even making a good play on James Starks in the backfield for a four-yard loss. Look for his playing time to increase after Monday's strong effort.