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5 pro-ponder-us reasons to keep CP7 on the roster

1. Because Sid is a big fan.

Sid Hartman, the ever popular and widely read sport columnist that started covering the Vikings at the Star Tribune way back before face masks were invented (ok, that might be a stretch but it’s been a long time), thinks Christian Ponder could start game one.

2. A new system might mean a new and improved Christian Ponder.

Ponder doesn’t need to be on the field to improve as a quarterback. Ponder can absolutely get better as a leader and a signal caller just by standing next to Norv Turner soaking it all in. Vikings fans may never see the dividends of the positive impression Turner’s system and teaching might have on his NFL career. But if by chance his number is called, I will feel pretty comfortable that Ponder can lead the Vikings to a few late season wins if needed.

Last week, offensive coordinator Norv Turner addressed the media and spoke about the style of offense he is looking for and his desire to attack different defenses. “If you’re going to be a complete offense, you have to play great in situations – 3rd downs, red-zone, two-minute are the ones that are the most critical to me.”

If Ponder ever happens to make a name for himself as a solid NFL starting quarterback, Norv’s three critical areas will be the blue print and the wheelhouse for Ponder’s success.

3. Ponder is the best 3rd string quarterback in the NFC North.

Ponder has 35 career starts under his belt and has completed over 60 percent of his pass attempts in the NFL. His quarterback rate of 77.3 and his 38 touchdowns to 34 interceptions hasn’t exactly wowed Viking Nation, but compared to other 3rd string quarterbacks around the league and particularly in the NFC North, Ponder clearly is one of the more desirable #3 options to keep on the roster.

In Chicago, David Fales will make short work out of surpassing Jimmy Clausen for the #2 job behind Jay Cutler. If you think Clausen is a better option than Ponder, think again. Clausen has a 1-9 record as a starter completing under 53% of his attempts while throwing 3 touchdowns and 9 picks.

In Detroit, over the past 2 seasons, Kellen Moore has completed 71 of 126 (56.3%) preseason pass attempts throwing 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. 2014 will mark his year to move up the depth chart and solidify himself as Matthew Stafford’s primary backup. That leaves projected 3rd string quarterback Dan Orlovsky as our case study. His career record as a starter is 2 wins and 10 loses. Orlovsky has completed 58.5 % of his attempts, throwing 14 touchdown and 12 interception in the NFL. No thank you, I will keep Ponder please.

In Greenbay, Scott Tolzien will probably be the #3 guy behind Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. Tolzien has completed 55 of 90 career attempts (61.1%) while chucking 1 touchdown to 5 interceptions. Again, I will take Ponder over Tolzien any day of the week.

4. Ponder has had his moments where he’s been good at: red-zone efficiency, moving the chains with his feet, and finding the slot receiver.

As a rookie, Ponder was #1 in the league in red-zone efficiency (QB rate over 107) and was in the top half of the league in 3rd down efficiency. In 2012, Ponder completed 41 of 69 passing while throwing 17 touchdowns and 2 picks with a QB rate of 94 while in the red-zone.

Ponder’s career 5.1 yard average per rush puts him up with dynamic quarterbacks like Russell Wilson (5.4), Cam Newton (5.6) and Colin Kaepernick (6.0). Ponder may lack franchise quarterback poise and pocket presence, but his happy feet can certainly make some big plays.

In 2012, Ponder connected with Percy Harvin 62 out of 85 targeted attempts. A 72.9% accuracy mark to your top target is exceptional. Ponder has also shown some accuracy when targeting Jarius Wright and Kyle Rudolph vertically down field.

Ponder has the ability to do a few things at a high level. Does that mean he gives us the “best” chance to win? No, but in the event of an emergency, I think he does gives the Vikings a “good” chance to win. Ponder has his share of flaws that’s for sure. The former Florida State quarterback has never shown good rhythm or accuracy with a true #1 wide reciever. Ponder also lacks discipline with his progressions and he doesn’t have natural pocket presence. Yes, the list goes on, but many of his flaws like the once listed can be improved and even corrected with time and better coaching.

5. Miracles can happen. 

Seeing is believing. Ponder will help his stock, confidence and overall approval rating if he can pull off a couple come-from-behind wins in heroic fashion this preseason. Yes, Ponder has been booed and hated as a starter, but as a 3rd stringer and late-game preseason quarterback, he has enough talent, experience, and big play potential to bring the fans back to their feet.

In Norv’s presser, he also expressed his desire to be good in the forth quarter. “The biggest thing to me, and if you ask our player I think this is the thing I talk most about is we have to be a team that plays our best in the 4th quarter in the most critical times.”

I think Ponder will be asked to do more than just hand the ball off and milk the clock in the 4th quarter this preseason. I’m not expecting fireworks from Ponder, but I do anticipate seeing good play.

This article is meant to help those who suffer from Ponderophobia. It your anxiety or rage continues for more than 4 hours after reading this, please seek help immediately.


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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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  1. You forgot:

    6. With his contract (and cap hit) fully guaranteed this year, the Vikings are paying for him regardless of whether or not he’s on the roster.

    The only reason not to keep him would be that he might have substantial trade value. I still would not be surprised to see him exchanged for a 4th-6th round pick before the regular season begins. Rick’s gotta get to ten picks per draft somehow, and that would be a start.

  2. What are the reasons for keeping a #3 QB?

    (1) If you hope to make a strong showing in the playoffs and want to guard against the slight possibility of injuring #1 and #2 in the same game.

    (2) You need to hold on to a developmental prospect.

    Ponder seems a bit like a luxury item if he’s the #3 guy. We have utility players McKinnon and Colter who might suffice in such a low probability situation. If it comes down to choosing between keeping Ponder or Colter, who do you keep?

  3. Between Ponder and Colter? There’s a whole lot of training camp to get through before that even becomes a question. At this point, for all the reasons listed above (plus his contract!) you keep Ponder.

  4. Ponder is a luxury on a team that can’t afford luxuries.
    Much more value to the team would be to keep
    – another linebacker (Watts/Greenway) until we have settled on/developed decent starters at all three positions
    – another safety (Blanton/Raymond) until we have a solid starter settled in opposite Smith
    – another corner (Prater was solid in spot duty last year) and until we know what we have in Cox and Robinson it would be better to have another option on the outside. Sherels is a decent dime and will stick as an excellent PR
    – a successor to Purple Jesus (Zach Line) Peterson is not getting any younger and McKinnon looks like a good scat/3rd down back, but not so much a blast-it-north-and-south back and Line looks like he could be that guy.

    So, to sum up, tradehim

  5. Reason # 3 and contract are the only ones to keep him. The real question is, “Are there 53 better players on the team than Ponder?” Do you cut the 53rd guy to keep a 3 string QB that will not be here next year? If you are comfortable with the other two QB’s the present bridge and Teddy the QBOTF and Ponder is the 54th or 60th man then you cut him to get more reps for both QB’s and keep the 53rd guy, but you do not cut him until you know that Teddy and Cassel made it through preseason healthy.

  6. Can’t wait until this bum is gone. Then the only context we’ll have to hear him in is – he was a nice guy, he wasn’t that bad. Harvin and Moss left and they could ‘go screw themselves’ but Ponder will be remembered fondly. The people that want him gone will just be happy he’s gone. His fans will wish him well, all the while waiting for him to become Gannon II.

      1. Big Moss/Harvin fan. WRT Moss…I watched people go back and forth between ‘we love you Randy’ – to ‘good riddance’. Others that said Harvin PUAR now that he was gone. But after Ponder is gone, you watch, it will be – just like I said. ‘Nice guy’, ‘not that bad’ etc…

  7. Consider one other possibility- suppose there is a pre-season injury on another team- and we could get a 3rd for Cassel? Ponder is then a perfectly decent back-up to Teddy.

    Take the deal- fast. It clears $5 mil in cap space, adds a draft choice, and Cassel isn’t very good here regardless. He gets no credit for throwing a 10 yard pass to a wide open Jennings who than runs 60 yards with it, just before he throws another one that should have been picked, then fumbles and is saved by Simpson. Most people who say he was great in London (he wasn’t I was there) weren’t watching the game very closely. Had he had the luck of Ponder (e.g., in Detroit) last year, we would have gone into halftime down 10.

  8. No, just no to trading Cassel and keeping Ponder. There are things Teddy can learn from Cassel and Cassel is better than Ponder. Just what is Teddy going to learn from Ponder?

    1. teddy can learn from ponder how to wash your hair with a jug of water in a parking lot, and marry a hot chick while you’re still somewhat relevant. that’s it

  9. Trade Ponder, for whatever you can get. Probably a good idea to wait…injuries. Cassel is Cassel, but he is better than Ponder. Good dude, and a great teammate. but so is Cassel.

  10. The Vikings will almost certainly carry 3 QBs into the 2014 season, the ‘Heir and a Spare’, and Ponder fits neatly into that niche. I really don’t see what the rush to trade the guy is, unless someone offers a 3rd for the guy.
    If no one wants Ponder in trade, I think the Vikings will keep him for at least another year. I agree, as a 3rd string, or even a 2nd string QB, he’ll do just fine. The question I wonder about though, is whether or not he’s willing to be a backup guy in Minnesota once he hits FA next year. That would be pretty tough, it might be better for him to find a change of scenery, start fresh someplace outside of the NFC North as a backup with a chance to start once in a while.

  11. Ponder is not that bad and still has POTENTIAL.

    Cassell will never be more then what he is now.

  12. Bridgewater is the future! Ponder and Cassel are just short term insurance answers. The one that offers the best trade value might get moved. A big preseason by all 3 QBs would be nice.

    The Texans have Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage… Don’t be suprised if Bill O’ Brien still has an eye on what’s happening with Cassel.