Seven hours before kickoff Monday afternoon, as I sat in my hotel room doing a pre-game live chat, the Christian Ponder questions kept coming. The most optimistic Viking fans were sensing an upset possibility and firmly believing that Ponder could spark that cause. Me? Far less convinced that Ponder would thrive in his first "Monday Night Football" start.

A sampling of thoughts from today's chat:

Comment From VikeFanSD 
We came close to beating the packers in our first meeting, since it was ponders first full game has he learned enough to warrant our excitement that we can knock them off at home
Dan Wiederer: 
Ponder has been solid in his first two starts. But let's also keep in mind, he's got a completion percentage below 52. Aaron Rodgers is excelling at the position like few have ever done before him. So it's really hard to imagine Ponder will be able to keep up tonight. On the road. In his first MNF appearance.


Comment From yesimind 
This will be a far more revealing test of Ponder than the last Vikes-Packers game: that time Green Bay's prep was more generic. Now with more NFL game film to help Green Bay prepare, Ponder's performance has the potential to be a big revelation: if Ponder has a big game, he will have really staked a claim to be the shining future that Vikes fans have hoped for. Do you think Ponder will be able to rise to occasion - or are the O-line & other offensive problems too large for Christian to overcome?
Dan Wiederer: 
Lengthy and detailed question. But it's a good one.
Dan Wiederer: 
Dom Capers likes to throw a lot of different looks. And against a rookie QB, they'll play do a lot of trap coverages, blitz often as well. I think this is a fantastic litmus test of how poised Ponder really is. There could not be a bigger combination of factors to test his mettle.
Dan Wiederer: 
Road game. Bright lights, national TV. Defense with a lot of different looks. Tomorrow morning's conversation about Ponder will be interesting.

Why wait until Monday morning to start the chatter? Before they shut the lights out at Lambeau, let's point out that Ponder was 16-for-34 for 190 yards against Green Bay on Monday night. He threw one interception and was sacked three times. The only scoring drive he led was a 14-yarder after the Vikings recovered a fumbled punt. For the game, the Vikings were 5-for-14 on third down conversion attempts.

In three starts and four games overall, Ponder now has a completion percentage of .505.

"When you go out and lose like this it is tough," Ponder said. We can't forget that we were neck and neck with them two weeks ago."

Actually, the Vikings can forget that. And should. Because that Week 7 loss was more the exception. Monday night seemed closer to the rule, the Packers showing just how much better they really are.

Look, I still think Ponder is a tremendous quarterback. He has good leadership skills and admirable moxie. He'll have every chance to be this team's starter for years on end. But after his first two starts, the optimism about his upside and the overall enthusiasm about the Vikings as a team was growing too quickly. I truly believed that 24-21 win in Carolina was fool's gold for this team. Now, on Monday night, they got a sobering reminder that they are far closer to the bottom of the NFL than they are to the top.

Ponder needs help around him. He'll also need to continue to show marked improvement against good teams to justify all the hype that he generated before the bye week.

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Inactives for tonight's Vikings-Packers game

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Final gun report: Packers 45, Vikings 7