Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He previously covered the Minnesota Vikings for four years, starting in 2008. In addition, he covered college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
I threw out a question on twitter Thursday night after Christian Ponder avoided a number of sacks by scrambling for positive yards in the first half against Houston in the final preseason game.
Is Ponder that fast or did the Texans have a hard time finishing plays? It probably was a combination of both, but Ponder has displayed good mobility throughout the preseason and looks a lot more comfortable on the move than in the pocket.
Ponder ran for three first downs on the first series Thursday and finished with 61 yards rushing on eight carries. The Vikings obviously prefer that Ponder doesn't have to scramble so much, but he showed he's capable of avoiding trouble by using his feet.
"There was a lot of running," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. "We tried to give him a hard time [joking] that he ran for 200 yards in the first half. It felt like it. He made everybody else out there look slow. That was good to see.
"I thought his decision-making was good. He got himself down when he needed to and got himself out of bounds when he could. As long as he makes good decisions, we’re glad for any yards that he can pick up for us when the play breaks down."
Musgrave said he didn't feel like Ponder was bailing out of the pocket too quickly and not staying with the play.
"It felt like just the right amount," he said.
"You can’t teach that sixth sense in the pocket," Musgrave added. "Just from the sideline it appeared a couple of plays we had some guys bearing down on him from the backside. You know he didn’t see them. But it looked like he felt them and flushed out."