The Minnesota Vikings are desperate for quality quarterback play, and there is no clearer sign of how bad things have gotten than the fact that they are likely turning back to Christian Ponder. Already this season the Vikings have given up on Ponder in favor of both Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman.
Selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 2011 draft, Christian Ponder has never came close to developing into the franchise quarterback the Vikings hoped that he would become. Struggling each of his two plus seasons in the league, Ponder has just a 75.8 passer rating for his career.
A tendency to check the ball down rather than take shots deep has limited the Vikings offense and enabled defenses to place a safety in the box and focus on stopping running back Adrian Peterson rather than worrying about being beat deep. The hope with turning to Josh Freeman was that he would take the shots deep necessary to keep both safeties deep and make running lanes easier to come by for AP.
Another strange thing about Christian Ponder is that despite his preferrence for short to mid-range throws that are considered to be safer and easier for offenses, Ponder has 30 interceptions to go with his 33 touchdowns. Game manager type quarterbacks such as what the Vikings have in Ponder usually are better at protecting the football.
The switch back to Christian Ponder on the surface is due to concussion like symptoms from Freeman after Monday’s loss to the previously winless New York Giants. Freeman went 2o for 53 for just 190 yards and a pick in the loss. Pressured from the start and with only a 12 day knowledge of the offense, Freeman looked helpless under center.
Switching back to Ponder from Freeman may also be the Vikings way of acknowledging that they tossed Freeman into the fire before he was ready. It takes more than two weeks to learn an NFL offense, and this concussion will at least give him another week to study before he goes back out there.
Signing Freeman appears to be a sign that the Vikings aren’t happy with what Ponder brings to the table, so we more than likely will see another change before too long. Christian Ponder needs to treat this as a final chance to prove he is capable of being a starting quarterback in this league. Joe Webb isn’t even out of the realm of possibility, he has started several games at quarterback in his career, but has recently made the switch to receiver.
Minnesota is the only team in the NFC North still searching for its franchise quarterback and their patience may be running thin. Trying all of their existing passers in live game action may be there way of assessing whether or not a high draft pick needs to be spent in order to find someone that can continually lead the team to the playoffs.
A trip to the surging but injured Green Bay Packers is next on the schedule. The Packer’s defense has been stellar this season, and no longer is a mouthwatering match up for opposing offenses. Ponder will have his work cut out for him on Sunday.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express
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