Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Go Figure: Ponder a real longshot to win his rookie starting debut

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Packers, Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson Updated: October 19, 2011 - 10:54 AM

As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 7 game with Green Bay at Mall of America Field, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts. And yeah, they’re all Christian Ponder related this week.

 
4-9
Record of quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2006 when making their debut as starters during their rookie season. The winners: Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan in 2008 and Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman in ‘09. The losers: Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler (2006); JaMarcus Russell (’07); Matthew Stafford (’09); Tim Tebow (’10) and Sam Bradford (’10); Cam Newton (’11) and Blaine Gabbert (’11).
 
299.7
Passing yards per game allowed by the Packers this season, ranking them 31st overall in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 62.1 percent of their passes against Green Bay with 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Carolina’s Cam Newton had the biggest game against the Packers yardage wise, throwing for 432 yards and a score in a 30-23 Week 2 loss.
 
61.5
Ponder’s completion percentage last season at Florida State. In 12 games, Ponder threw for 2,044 yards (170.3 per game) with 20 touchdown tosses and eight interceptions. He also had 180 yards rushing. Billed as a Heisman Trophy hopeful, Ponder was not an All-ACC selection – first- or second-team -- during his final year in Tallahassee, Fla. Tyrod Taylor was the first team All-ACC selection; Russell Wilson was the second-team pick.
 
13
Number of different quarterbacks who have led the Vikings in passing yardage for a season in the past 25 years. Yep, long-term stability at the position has been a problem for the franchise. In fact, since 1983, the only quarterback to lead the Vikings in passing yards for four straight seasons is Daunte Culpepper, who did so from 2000-04. Other single-season passing leaders in the last quarter century: Tommy Kramer (1986), Wade Wilson (1987-89), Rich Gannon (1990-92), Jim McMahon (1993), Warren Moon (1994-95), Brad Johnson (1996-97, 2005-06), Randall Cunningham (1998), Jeff George (1999), Tarvaris Jackson (2007), Gus Frerotte (2008) and Brett Favre (2009-10).
 
39
Rushing total for Adrian Peterson in Sunday night’s 39-10 loss in Chicago. Sunday night marked Peterson’s 70th career game including the playoffs. But you can bet that film from the lopsided loss won’t make it into the A.P. highlight montage any time soon. Sunday’s 12-carry, 39-yard effort was the 10th least productive outing of Peterson’s career and the 15th time he had a per-carry average of less than 3.5 yards. Peterson did score a touchdown shortly after halftime, a 4-yard run that brought the Vikings within 26-10. But after Devin Hester returned the ensuing kickoff for a score to push Chicago’s lead back up to 23 points, Peterson only carried the ball once more. The shaky outing dropped him out of the top five on the NFL’s rushing list for this season. Peterson has 537 yards through six games, sixth overall behind Oakland’s Darren McFadden (610), Buffalo’s Fred Jackson (601), Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (572), Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy (569) and San Francisco’s Frank Gore (541).

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