My first question to Ted Glover at Daily Norseman was about the Vikings 2011 season so far. But the big change this week is that Christian Ponder has been named the starter for the rest of the season, and his first NFL start will be against the Green Bay Packers.
Q: What expectations do you have for Christian Ponder this season?
A: I expect Ponder to run the table, win rookie of the year, and Super Bowl MVP. Okay, we'll give Super Bowl MVP to Adrian Peterson, fine, whatever. In all seriousness, I want to see competent play. I know he's a rookie and he's going to make mistakes; that's fine. I want to see him run the offense, make some throws, and at least give me reason to believe that the Vikings made the right pick. Personally, I think they did. I've been able to cover the Vikes during training camp as a By God credentialed member of the fifth column twice in my life, in 2006 and 2011. 2006 was Tarvaris Jackson's rookie camp, and of course, 2011 was Ponder's. Where Jackson always seemed ill at ease and uncomfortable as the 'Quarterback of the Future', Ponder was relaxed and able to put all the noise of being the face of the franchise, blah blah blah, to the side and roll with things. He is very poised and mature, and seems to have that mystical 'it' quality that QB's need to be successful. Obviously, that guarantees absolutely nothing, and he has to have talent to succeed. And I think he does. He's more athletic than I thought, and he's better at stepping up in the pocket and avoiding the rush than McNabb is, at least he was Sunday night. As for throwing the ball, did he sail a few of throws against the Bears? Yeah, he did. But he also threw a lot of strikes to guys in stride, right in the numbers, and the passing game looked as good as it has all year. He lead the team on a couple of nice drives, and it looked like he injected some life into an offense that had looked like they had packed it in for the night until he got in the huddle. In short, I want a guy that can be a good starting quarterback for the next decade, and although I don't care if he's the best quarterback in the league, but I'd like his name to be in the conversation when you're compiling a top 10 list.
Q: Can you describe his style, or maybe compare him to another NFL quarterback?
A: As to who he reminds me of, I don't know. No disrespect, but I don't think it's fair to compare him to an established NFL guy after one quarter of one game. I want him to grow and be his own quarterback, and hopefully seven or eight years from now people will be looking at their hotshot rookie and say 'this kid reminds me of a younger Christian Ponder'.What's that? You're putting a gun to my head and you're going to make me choose? Well then, how about Matt Hasselbeck in the mid aughts? Hasselbeck isn't fast, but he's quick in the pocket and does a good job of avoiding the rush. He doesn't have the strongest arm in the league, but he can make all the throws with authority, he's pretty accurate, and he's a guy that just seems to command respect from his teammates without having to say a word.