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Thursday night draft thoughts...

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • April 28, 2011 - 10:17 PM

Let's be honest. I don't know if Christian Ponder is going to be a star or a bust. You don't know, either. The Vikings' braintrust, which invested countless hours dissecting his film and background and interviewing him and his coaches, don't really know, either.

But if you stop worrying about where draft experts had him ranked, he has a lot going for him.

According to consensus and statistics, he's:

-Extremely bright.

-Personable. (Personality matters for quarterbacks; they have to be leaders.)

-Accurate (he completed 69 percent of his passes as a junior, and 62 percent as a senior.)

The biggest knock on him seems to be durability, but the Vikings say they thought he displayed toughness in trying to play through his injuries.

My column, in the Friday paper, makes this point: We don't know how good this kid is, but if he can play, we are about to be treated to the best drama in sports: The nurturing of a young quarterback.

For now, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. I think Frazier knows what makes an NFL player tick, and Spielman is a tireless worker. I think they feel they landed a guy with great strengths and no glaring weaknesses.

I'll say this: I'm much more interested in this team today than I was yesterday.

-Congratulations to Michael Cuddyer for ripping into his teammates today. Somebody had to say it.

I think this will be Cuddyer's last season in Minnesota - he'll be a free agent and is not likely to want to take the kind of pay cut necessary to keep him here - and I'll miss him. He's honest, team-oriented, selfless and has a sense of humor. And he's responsible and accountable. A few of his teammates should take note.

-Joe Mauer wants to remain a catcher? Then he needs to prove he can recover from injuries and stay behind the plate. At some point, the Twins may have to remind him that he's the employee, not the employer.

-I know, I know, the Twins stink right now. They're a rather pathetic group.

Let me just remind you how lousy a team can look and still win something, though. In April of 2006, the Twins were swept by Cleveland early in the season by a combined 17-8. Then they were swept by Chicago by a combined 23-6. Then they were swept by Detroit by a combined 33-1.

That team, of course, won 96 games.

That's not a prediction of future success, merely a reminder that past failures haven't always been terrible omens.

-Ralph Sampson is declaring for the NBA draft?

Then I'm declaring that I'm about to win $1 billion dollars.

-While other NBA teams conduct their coaching searches, the Wolves...are...still...thinking...about...it...very...slowly...so...as...to...create...the...illusion...of...thoughful...ness.

-Upcoming: I'm outta here. Taking my first real adult vacation in a long, long time. I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, then going on a cruise. Tom Pelissero will conduct the Gardenhire Show and Sunday Morning Sports Talk along with my Strib colleague Judd Zulgad. I'm guessing they might talk about the draft.

I'll be back the following Sunday.

My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. I may tweet from the beach; I may not, but this is a good time to thank y'all for reading, and listening.

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