It is official. Christian Ponder will start for the Vikings when they take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday in Minnesota. This effectively ends the Donovan McNabb era at six games, which was probably six games too many. The former Philly star QB shouldn’t take all of the blame for the Vikes 1-5 start, but he was certainly a big reason for the team’s futility. And at the end of the day, the quarterback takes an inordinate amount of criticism or credit.
This is a very important day for the Minnesota Vikings as a franchise. There have been plenty of people, myself included, who questioned, or even blasted the team when the team took Ponder with the #12 overall pick in April’s draft. Actually, I am on record as criticizing the Vikings for most of their moves at the QB position over the past four years(see Favre, Frerotte, Rosenfels, the mishandling of Jackson, etc…). But today is about looking forward, not rehashing the past.
The Vikings have two huge issues in front of them right now, that together will determine the future of the franchise. One is the aforementioned Christian Ponder, while the other is the fate of the team’s new stadium project. If the former FSU QB can show some promise, he might actually help both of these issues. The Goverener has been pushing for a November 23rd deadline for the state legislature to commit the state’s portion of the new Viking’s stadium in Arden Hills, MN. While the public will not get an actual vote, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have the team moving in a positive direction. Politicians are always concerned about keeping their jobs and if the citizens of Minnesota seem to support the project, it’s a fair bet that the deal will get done.
Ponder is only the third QB ever taken by the Vikings in the first round of the NFL draft. The other two, Tommy Kramer and Daunte Culpepper, both made the list of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All-Time. Certainly, there will be some pressure on him, but a 1-5 record relieves some of it. In his debut on Sunday night against the Bears, he was a refreshing change of pace, partially because he wasn’t getting sacked repeatedly. Ponder showed off his excellent mobility and made several nice throws. More importantly, he didn’t appear panicked while playing on the road against a defense that was coming at him hard. This week won’t be any easier as Minnesota hosts Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. At least Christian won’t have to line up on defense.
This Sunday may wind up being a great day in Vikings history, even if they don’t beat their arch rival. That is definitely weird, but it could be true. Probably the most important part of the history though, is whether it winds up being part of Minnesota Vikings history, or Los Angeles Vikings history.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).