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RandBall: The final Ponder swan song

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • November 18, 2013 - 9:09 AM

 

It's hard to write anything about Christian Ponder that hasn't already been written, but we'll give it a try.

 

It was fair to give Christian Ponder a chance as the starting quarterback for the Vikings this season. It's his third in the NFL -- in his first, there was a lockout that wiped out most of the offseason; in his second, as up and down as he was, Ponder did enough to help the team make the playoffs and leap from 3 to 10 wins.

It probably wasn't even beyond generous to give Ponder one more chance this season, once the QB merry-go-round had swung from him to Matt Cassel to Josh Freeman without raging success. Our argument at the time was that if it was a lost season, why not play Freeman because he's the only unknown in a purple uniform. The Vikings clearly felt like they wanted another look at Ponder.

What we've seen with that look are the same maddening characteristics we have seen all along: poor pocket awareness, an inability to read coverages (leading to both dangerous throws and missed opportunities) and a complete lack of consistency. Every time you are ready to say, "Hey, maybe Ponder isn't that bad," he has a sequence like he had in the second half Sunday against Seattle. He does more to help you than hurt you.

That's the very definition of someone who is destined to be a backup QB in the NFL.

To that end, we still think Ponder could have value in a backup role next year with the Vikings -- the final season of his rookie deal. As we've said often, the Vikings have so many holes that creating another one by flat-out dumping Ponder might not be wise.

But we've seen more than enough in a starting role. Far more. Good third-year QBs don't make the throws and decisions Ponder is still making. If he continues to start games for the rest of 2013, it will be an indictment of the team's options, an indictment of the decision-makers, or both.

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