The Vikings on Sunday face the Bengals for the first time since 2009 -- and therefore for the first time since Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton were chosen by their respective teams in the 2011 draft.
As such, there is a great deal of discussion about the two QBs this week. Ponder was the last QB chosen in the first round -- ending a run of four chosen in the top 12. The Bengals waited and got Dalton at No. 35; one pick later, the 49ers snagged Colin Kaepernick. The Vikings picked later in the second round and took tight end Kyle Rudolph.
And here we are now: Ponder has been up-and-down, and now he's out of the lineup in favor of Matt Cassel, while the Vikings' long-term question at quarterback is very much wide open again. Dalton led the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons and has them aimed that way for a third consecutive year. That said, he has thrown 0 TDs and 4 INTs in going 0-2 in the postseason. Most view him as a good but not great quarterback -- better than your classic "game manager," but hardly elite.
Leslie Frazier said this week that he is "not displeased" with how the 2011 QB draft worked out for his team. That's an interesting way of putting it.
Here is our take (expanded upon in the video above, along with Frazier comments): Dalton has been more productive than Ponder. This year's Vikings might be a playoff team if they had Dalton. That said, we're not sure if we would be thrilled if Dalton was the Vikings' long-term QB since we're not sold on his ability to take a team all the way to the Super Bowl.
Final word: Neither of the two was projected to be taken by the Vikings. Per the Star Tribune archives, here were the most popular mock drafts for the Vikings at No. 12 in 2011:
A completely random sampling of online mock drafts indicates four players seem logical as selections for the Vikings at No. 12 on Thursday.
Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: Sporting News; Adam Caplan, Fox Sports; Bucky Brooks, NFL.com; Pro Football Talk; Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN; NFL Draft Geek; YourNFLDraft.com; ExpertMockDraft.com; John Crist, Scout.com; NFL Rough Draft; Football Dialogue; NFL Draft Line; NFL Draft Today; Draft Board Guru; New NFL Draft
Cameron Jordan, DE, California: Steve Wyche, NFL.com; Pat Kirwan, NFL.com; Brian Baldinger, NFL.com; Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.; Don Banks, Sports Illustrated; Morning Football; NFL Draft Scout; NFL Draft 101; Sideline Scouting
Jake Locker, QB, Washington: Los Angeles Times; Peter King, Sports Illustrated; Peter Schrager, Fox Sports; The Sports Bank; Patriots Draft Insider; NFL Draft Specialist; Sports Fantasy Guide
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: Star Tribune; San Diego Newscape; Cippin On Sports; Ultimate NFL Draft