Christian Ponder played arguably the best game of his NFL career versus the Washington Redskins on Thursday. Ponder, who struggled early, has seemed to find his groove these past couple of weeks while the Minnesota Vikings’ defense and offensive line still remain a mystery.
Minnesota should stick with Ponder for at least the rest of the season, and if things go well, fill the rest of the holes in the NFL draft and offseason instead of going after a highly touted quarterback.
The Vikings have more than just Ponder to consider when coming to a decision on who to draft. There are multiple teams that may not even win two games on the season, and if the Vikings win a few more games, which they probably will, they’ll end up with a draft pick in the 7-10 range. Would it be wise to gamble on a quarterback again, or select the best available player?
The biggest reason the Vikings have struggled all season has not been due to scoring points. The Vikings are above average in scoring, but the offensive line gives up quite a few sacks and allows pressure to get to the quarterback seemingly at least once per drive. Thus leaving any quarterback vulnerable to turnovers.
The defense, particularly in the secondary, has struggled mightily all season to close out games. Last week’s win was no walk in the park as the Redskins drove right down field with two minutes to play and nearly tied the game with a touchdown.
This seems to happen every time the Vikings have a lead in the fourth quarter. I’ve preached it all season. The solution is to acquire a game stopper, like cornerback Antoine Winfield was for the Vikings all those many years.
LSU cornerback Tharold Simon could potentially be a great draft pick to help out the secondary next season. Minnesota could also look to free agency.
I’m not an advocate for Ponder, but I have liked what I’ve seen over the past few weeks. The best thing about his game last week was that he threw the deep ball with success. Ponder also read the defense well; instead of running out of the pocket, I recall Ponder rolling out to hit Cordarrelle Patterson for a short touchdown in the red zone. In previous games, Ponder would have tried to run it and possibly make a bad throw.
It’s easy to criticize Ponder for his lackluster play to begin his career, but he was exceptional at times on Thursday. If he keeps progressing and playing well in the coming weeks, the Vikings may just have their answer at quarterback. Who would have thought that it’d be Ponder?
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