Mark it down: On April 25, the night of the first round of the NFL draft, Vikings QB Christian Ponder heard his first cheers of the season at Mall of America Field.
All he had to do was put on a uniform; if only the rest of 2013 was that simple.
Ponder was on hand Thursday at the Vikings fan party, which served a dual purpose: getting fans pumped up about the draft, but first getting them excited about the Vikings’ new uniforms.
Ponder, tight end Kyle Rudolph, defensive lineman Everson Griffen and fullback Jerome Felton showed off various color combinations, which were generally greeted with positive reviews from fans — and players.
“I like it. Hopefully most people like it. It’s a way, I guess, when there’s no football to create some sort of buzz,” Ponder said. “It’s simple. It’s not like the crazy thing Nike has done with college uniforms. … It’s a very traditional team and to keep it traditional and simple I thought it was really good.”
The new ensemble features a matte purple helmet, a new font on the numbers — with curves that, according to the Vikings “reflect the bow of a Vikings ship” — and stripes that are a nod to Minnesota uniforms of old.
Griffen said the helmet, much like a rug, really ties the whole thing together. OK, he chose a different analogy.
“It’s like when you have a good suit on and you put on the perfect tie, that’s what the helmet is,” he said. “It’s the tie for the suit. It brings everything together. It makes everything look nice.”
Images of the new uniforms leaked on Tuesday, but the official unveiling still generated a buzz. Fans were lined up several deep along a roped off area when the players emerged one-by-one from an inflatable Viking ship tunnel through a haze of smoke shortly after 6 p.m.
“Old-school, going all the way back to the old days,” said Vikings fan Brian Meyer, 42, of Owatonna. “It’s nothing flashy. It’s straight to the point. I like it.”
Meyer was wearing an Adrian Peterson jersey. And yes, he said he planned to buy a new one — proof that changing a uniform can be more than just a fashion statement for an organization.
Will they have an on-field impact? Ponder chuckled at the notion, but Griffen said this: “If you feel good and look good, most likely you are going to play good.”