GUEST POST: Ponder Christian No More

[NOTE FROM ARIF – It seems as if guest posts are becoming a popular way to get your opinions out there. This one comes from Greg Eichten, and I believe this is his first blog post of any kind.

Remember, if you’re interested in writing a guest post for Vikings Territory, you can email me at arifmhasan (at) gmail DOT com. We’re always looking for fresh angles!]

By Greg Eichten

The NFL’s biggest asset isn’t the Dallas Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers, or even the TV broadcast rights. No, their biggest asset is hope. Hope for the dedicated fan bases all over the world that THIS is the season, THIS is the player, THIS is finally the quarterback that’s going to change the franchise forever. That’s why Christian Ponder in no way can be on the roster when it’s time to report to training camp.

Following the disappointing but predictable 2013 Vikings season, I wasn’t convinced that Leslie Frazier needed to go. Sure he wasn’t Vince Lombardi, but was he really the reason why the Vikings couldn’t win? However, once we brought in the shiny new coach in Mike Zimmer and made a few solid hires such as Mr. Norval Turner, I found myself wondering what that strange feeling was that was working its way into my brain. It seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. I remember it around the time when Favre, Cunningham, and even Culpepper were here. Then it came to me – HOPE! I’m actually feeling hope for the 2014 season. Right then I realized why coaches are fired every other year and why the draft is so popular…it all comes down to hope and the possibility of positive change. Maybe this IS the great coach we’ve been waiting for. A new regime is starting for crying out loud, we have permission to write off the last few years as a sunk cost in our fandom… but going forward, BOY THINGS SURE ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR!

Back in February, in a 50-minute interview with reporters, Spielman said Christian Ponder will be back next season.

Excuse me, what did he say?!? There’s a reason why you don’t invite your boozy ex-girlfriend to your wedding: nothing positive can result of it, only pain and suffering as those old wounds are ripped open and exposed. What good could possibly come of turning him into Clipboard Christian and have him awkwardly hanging around pretending to cheer on the starting quarterback? No hard feelings against Ponder, as he has been the consummate professional, saying and doing all the right things. Do the right thing for him and let him try and extend his career elsewhere while getting something of value in return. He’s better than Jacksonville bust Blaine Gabbert, and he garnered a 6th round pick from the 49ers.

And let’s not forget our current starting quarterback, Matt Cassel, who would benefit greatly knowing that CP isn’t staring daggers into his helmet and untying his shoes while he naps on the team plane. If Cassel struggles, as he most likely will at some point, I can guarantee that there will be a small but loud clamoring to see one more look at Christian, with the usual chorus of qualifiers: “Why not see what he’s got? Maybe the off-season and benching really got through to him? We invested a 12th overall pick on the guy, might as well use him!” No, nope, and negative again. If Ponder takes even one snap this year, the hope that has been building within the fan base will seep out as we recall the failures of past teams and will be replaced with the all too familiar feeling of dread and disgust. Let’s move forward with the new regime and start off without the face of disappointment holding the clipboard.

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  1. The problem wasnt Ponder..the Vikings scored lots of points and if we had a medicore defense we could have won our division.If you take notice Rick and our new coach recoginized the problem..defense,defense and more defensive help was needed.take note of the 50m spent rebuilding the defense.

  2. I just can’tbelieve how everyone rags on Ponder.Most fans never even played thegame of football or even really understand the game. First of all lets recap Ponder’s career in Minnesota… Year one he had no training camp,a quarterbacks coach who was a running backs coach for his past experience.Ponder gets put in half way through the season with no camp and no coaching. Year two he starts and does very well the first six games of the season where he is the number one rated qb in the league, that’s right the number one qb, then the slump and then the great season ending. Not bad for a young qb. Year three and all the arm chair qb start there ranting for Ponder’s head. I guess they didn’t see ReggieBush run all over the defense or josh robinson get torched over and over again. Ponder’s ints. were not his fault, the first one went off simpson’s hands and the second one was tipped. Ints are part of the game, ask Andrew luck on his last two games. Seven picks people in two games. The best qb to ever play the game named Bret Favre threw tons of picks. Musgrave was the worst o.c. in the history of football,plus having a runningbacks coach teaching Ponder was ridiculous. After three games in Ponder’s third year people were saying he had three years to develop,how insane is that. Ponder really had only one full season and partial seasons the rest of his short career. Ponder makes mistakes,but also makes some incredible throws. He will become a very good qb in time,but you fans don’t help by booing him at home games.The kid is young and

  3. All they need to do is make it clear that Ponder is the backup. He has never been taken seriously as the leader of this football team, so it’s not like there is going to be a big QB controversy. He’s going to make a nice career for himself as a backup QB in the NFL. For us he’s going to be a cheap one year option to fill that role. Then he’ll leave as a FA and go somewhere else to be a backup, and I’m guessing ten years from now that’s exactly what he’ll still be.

  4. I suppose you have a fair point Dan…as much as I don’t want to admit it, Ponder would be a cheap backup with some decent experience. But geez…just the thought of the possibility of him taking another snap in a Viking jersey…I get that throw up taste.
    Some of you guys really think Ponder is a good NFL QB? Not gonna shoot any stats out there to prove a point, just watching him play last year was enough for me. Agree that the defense sucked…and we coulda won 4-5 more games if they could’ve held a lead, but some of those were with Cassel at QB.
    And it ain’t just about the picks…he just won’t throw the damn ball! You have to get the ball out of your hand. I understand sometimes it ain’t there, sometimes the protection breaks down. But I see it, I see when he drops back and there’s that pause, then he panics, try’s to bail…he didn’t throw it! It seems to happen often with him…I know you’ve seen it.
    When Cassel came in, started the Steeler game…the difference was obvious. Cassel is what he is, but he will chuck it! Sometimes to the other team…that ain’t good, but that’s gonna happen.
    Ive seen enough! Agree Greg…let him go. Better for both Ponder and our Vikings.

  5. Honestly Greg? You really believed Spielman when he said that Ponder would be on the team next year? REALLY? I will say though, it’s not as dumb as the people that think Blake Bortles is going to be picked first overall in the draft… Welcome to smoke & mirrors 2014.

    1. You do realize Spielman drafted Ponder, right? Spielman would love nothing more than to see Turner come in and morph Christian into the QB he thought he was drafting. Football guys hate admitting when they’re wrong, it’s what ends up costing most of them their jobs. Three reasons they would get rid of him, a decent trade offer, Ponder going all TO on them to force his way out, or a 4th string camp arm ends up impressing them so much they would rather forfeit a potential 2016 comp pick then try to sneak him onto the PS. Those are the only reasons Ponder isn’t in Purple next year, he’s not a franchise QB but he’ll be a capable backup.

  6. Wait until the season starts and Ponder is the starting qb. Ponders haters will be having meltdows.

  7. llllllDo you really want to keep messing around with a qb that can’t throw, can’t find the open guy, who everyone including Peterson is/was sick of? He sucked, He’s loser, and everyone is sick of him but you and Gary. I’m melting down just thinking about it.

  8. I can’t believe how much support there is for Ponder. Mediocrity is the worst possible outcome of any season and leads to future mediocrity.
    I want my quarterback to be able to do three things:
    1) Read a defense to know where the pressure is coming from and where to find the soft spots depending on what type of coverage they are showing.
    2) Go through his progressions quickly when the first option isn’t there to find the open man.
    3) Have the arm strength to fit the ball in the tight window 15-20 yards downfield.
    If he was excellent at ANY of these three points it would help with the shortcomings in the others, but he simply cannot do any of them. He is not a starting NFL quarterback, and we would not benefit in any way in keeping him on the roster.

  9. Good article Greg. Sending ponder away would be ideal if we knew we had a guy who could take the reins this year. Until the draft is over we can’t. The comment you wrote above could have swayed peoples thinking because it is exactly why ponder isn’t an average QB. His reads are bad, and his arm doesn’t make up for it. That being said at this point we have 2 C- QBs, both whom have lead teams to the playoffs on our roster. There have been several great QBs that have sat a year or 2 and become sleeping giants. That’s what we need, especially in this draft. Ideally the QB comes in and does some things better than Cassel and Ponder from the start, but we go with the veteran and turn to the other vet when injury or poor play happens. We want the rookie to sit. That is the benefit to having ponder. We know whoever we draft doesn’t have to play this year. This is a year to build depth, and you build depth by letting good players sit and learn without getting beat up physically and mentally.

    Gabbert is an example of a guy who should have sat. Physical tools wise Gabbert still has potential, you just have to start him over, and SF has the staff for it. Ponder doesn’t have the tools. But we could likely send him away for a late round pick as well.

  10. you guys are nuts when you say ponder doesn’t have the ability to be a good qb. You all must be experts in coaching and work in the nfl !!! Ponder is an athletic freak for a qb, he runs a 4.6 forty, 34 inch vertical, and the brains to back it up. His arm strength is good despi what everyone thinks. I had a chance to watch his workouts… very impressive!!!! Those are all attributes you look for in a young qb. You guys all want super stardom right away, but that’s not how it works . Mark my words Ponder will be a very good qb

    1. I applaud your support Gary.

      In those workouts was he throwing 20 yard jump balls to the outside from his own 20 as he so often does? High lofting passes the receiver has to jump over the corner to catch? Where are the results? I will absolutely give you the fact that he has had questionable coaching and that in the long term he could turn into a serviceable QB. But how many QBs have to enter the league that are better than him before you decide to move on?

  11. You tell them Gary! Your old pal Fragile agrees with you 100%

    Some QBs just take a bit longer than others to develop, It’s just the facts of life. Too many people are so quick to judge, give Ponder some time. It’s just the facts of life. In fact this reminds Freds of an old philosopher who once gave Freds some of the best advice he ever heard at a time when Freds was down and out.

    He said, ” Freds, you know what? you gotta take the good, you take the bad,you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life. There’s a time you got to go and show
    You’re growin’ now you know about The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
    When the world never seems to be livin up to your dreams And suddenly you’re finding out
    the Facts of Life are all about you, It takes a lot to get ’em right.”

  12. If we pick up 2 QB in the draft # 1 & # 7 rounds, and the #7 comes anywhere close to him he is toast even with the dead money, however if we only pick up 1 QB in the draft since we let JOE WEBB go he stays on the roster cause all the $$$ due to him. Sad but true.

    I am betting JOE WEBB career last longer in the NFL than Ponder. I can’t see anyone picking him up next year.

    1. I’m thinking Ponder will be the starting QB opening day. No rookie will be starting.

  13. I guess growing up playing with explosives gives me a different perspective, but I really would like to see what Turner thinks of Ponder, and see if he has any answers. Every minute of watching Ponder play caused me discomfort ( I was at the Seattle game, but all I could do was laugh at that one, except for a couple of excellent throws). I say this because I do not think Frazier was a good head coach. I do not think Musgrave was a good offensive coordinator. Both were desperation hirings, and just like picking a girlfriend because no one else wants you, it doesn’t usually end well. But I do like these coaches so I want to see what they can do with players in which the team has invested a great deal.

  14. I cant wait to see how many people will be bugging out when Ponder is on the roster when the season is open ~ I’m not crazy about Ponder ~ He is lacking right now ~ But I’m not so close minded to believe that if Zimmer can help players on defense to improve that Norv can help players on offense ~ Thats my dog in this fight ~ I have trouble with haters ~ It is possible that Norv helps Ponder turn things around ~ Like I said I like to have fun with haters ~

    You cant put all the blame on Ponder no matter how hard you try ~ Is he a great QB ~ ? No he is not ~ Can he improve ~ Sure he can no matter what some fans say ~ Its happened far more times then acting GM what to believe ~

    Things some fans dont like to talk about like in all but 1 game with Ponder starting and finishing the offense avg. 23 points a game ~ How are you going to cut a QB who is capable of doing this ~ Ponder haters dont want to talk about it ~ Why ~ ? If they do they credit AP and they should because thats the plays Musgrave called ~ Hard to throw when its almost always run~run~pass ~ You know it as well as I do ~

    The defense was more responsible for most of the lose when Ponder was the starting QB ~ Ponder haters dont want to hear about it ~ I understand ~ You want Ponder gone ~ No way should it take a young QB 4 years for the lights to come on ~ Its OK if its a QB from another team but no way if it takes Ponder a 4th season to get it right ~

    I will let you guys rest ~ I cant help but have some fun with fans who get bent over one players even if he plays QB ~ Its not like things were any better when Cassel started ~ Nor was it Cassel’s fault ~ He too had to play under Musgrave and with the very same last place defense ~ #32 in the NFL ~ And that my friends is the reason for the 5~10~1 season ~ Not to QB’s ~

    1. Vikadan
      Your probably right, He probably will be on the team this year. a year under Norv certainly won’t hurt…