Hartman: Ponder views QB job an open competition

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2014 - 8:36 AM

Matt Cassel might be the Vikings’ presumed starter, but Ponder might greatly improve in Norv Turner’s system.

hide

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder shows his stuff at mini camp in late April.

Photo: Brian Mark Peterson, DML -

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A lot of eyes will be on quarterback Christian Ponder as the Vikings open their first of three organized workouts this week. Most media members and Vikings fans are of the opinion that Matt Cassel has the position locked up, and some are confident Ponder, the former first-round draft choice from Florida State, won’t be a member of the team when the Vikings report to Mankato for training camp in late July.

I happened to disagree. I believe there is a chance Ponder will do a lot better this year under Norv Turner’s new offensive system.

In a recent interview with Ponder, he appeared confident that he will surprise people with his performance this year.

Ponder was asked how he perceived the offseason moves, including a two-year, $10 million contract for Cassel in March.

“I expected Matt to come back, and that’s good for this team and even good for me,” Ponder said. “Competition is great for anybody, plus me and Matt have such a good relationships already.”

Ponder also said he was sure the Vikings were going to draft a quarterback, because he and Cassel were the only two on the roster before the selection of Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in the draft.

“It’s a competition,” Ponder said. “Whether it’s Joe Montana or someone else here, it’s a competition. It’s fun. It’s fun to compete. You know when I first got here, Donovan [McNabb] came in and played, and I got the ability to go out and play and Donovan left and there wasn’t much competition going on in there. So this is going to be good for all of us and push us to be our best.”

Ponder was asked about the implementation of the new offensive system.

“It’s a lot, and it’s a lot more on our plate than we had last year. But once the plays you have are in, it lets us make some decisions … to get out there and have control of what you’re doing and be able to react to different things and play, so it’s fun.”

The Vikings didn’t pick up Ponder’s option, which didn’t surprise him, and he will be a free agent at the end of this year. He won’t be back for the 2015 season if he doesn’t get a chance to play or doesn’t produce when he does.

Ponder was asked about the assumption that Cassel will be the starter.

“The expectation is that he’s going to be a starter, but for me, I’m competing for the job, and that’s what’s going on in my mind is the competition,” he said. “I think about how we talked about it before, that this is a clean slate for all of us. I don’t think the coaches have made a decision on what’s going on yet, but hopefully the best guy gets to play.”

How does Ponder think he performed last season?

“It was disappointing how the year went, but honestly when I left, it was more motivation than anything,” Ponder said. “I really worked hard this offseason, more than I have in the past. I didn’t want it to happen again. I knew there was going to be a competition to play and I tried to do my best to prepare.”

Why didn’t Ponder improve last year?

“Turnovers were the biggest thing, that cost us quite a few games,” he said. “Just some dumb decisions and that has been kind of the past three years. It’s something I have to fix, and hopefully learning things from Norv is going to help me.”

And what has Turner said about what he expects from the Vikings quarterbacks?

“He talks a lot about ball security, so not turning the ball over,” Ponder said. “His offense is all about timing and rhythm and getting the ball out, so you know if it’s one hitch and the guy’s not open, move on. I like that, being able to make those pre-snap reads and get the ball out as quick as possible. It really limits you on your reads, the guys you have to go to, and that will help you make decisions quicker.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close