Could Ponder Start Game One This Year For The Vikings?
About those rumors of the Vikings still being in the market for a veteran like Donovan McNabb? Though a lockout that wipes out all of the offseason and training camp and the preseason could make a move for a game-ready veteran quarterback necessary, coach Leslie Frazier’s preference would be to immediately rely on Christian Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
“Ideally, I’d like for him to be ready to go when we play San Diego [in Week One],” Frazier said during a segment with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. “That would be the ideal situation — we’ve got our Matt Ryan, we’ve got our [Joe] Flacco, we’ve got our [Mark] Sanchez right here. But because of the uncertainty of the offseason, it’s just hard to determine exactly how you want to approach it. So, we need a little more clarity on what this offseason’s going to be like.”
And so the status of the Minnesota starting quarterback will depend in large part on the viability of the court ruling from the federal district of Minnesota.
“It would be tough to be able to send him out there against San Diego if we don’t start football, if we don’t report until, say, mid-August, or three weeks prior to the season,” Frazier said. “That would be a tough, tough deal for any young quarterback. It’s tough enough just getting through OTAs and preseason games, but if we start this thing without preseason games or one preseason game, I think you have to rethink how you approach it. So, that’ll probably answer what direction we go — based on when we start football.”
The fact that Frazier is willing to openly say that Ponder ideally would start the season represents the next step in the play-’em-right-away evolution of drafting quarterbacks in round one. Even for rookie quarterbacks drafted since 2008 who have started in Week One, they weren’t handed the reins only days after being picked.
Ponder will — if the lockout ends in time for the Vikings to get him ready.
The process began on Friday. Per Tom Pelissero of 1500espn.com, Ponder met with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson on Friday, before the lockout was reinstated. Ponder also spoke with receiver Percy Harvin, who will be Ponder’s lockout conduit with veteran players. Ponder and Percy could be organizing lockout workouts in Florida, if the lockout lingers beyond the appeals court’s looming decision regarding whether it should continue.
Our Analysis: This in my opinion is one of the biggest mistakes the Vikings could make. Since the off season has already been cut short and with no end in site, Ponder will only struggle if thrown to the wolves. I think it would be best if the Vikings brought in a veteran on a two year contract to let Ponder learn from. If the Vikings struggle early then giving Ponder some playing time could be an option. However, that should only be an option if/after the Vikings are eliminated from the playoffs.