Minnesota Ponder-ing Their Future

Apr 29, 2011


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By Andy Boyum
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I wasn’t there in person, but I could hear the booing echo loudly through my Facebook for Android app. Winter Park had a collective flattening the likes of which hadn’t been seen since that fateful December morning.
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After a few failed attempts to trade down with St. Louis and Miami, the Minnesota Vikings selected Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, marking only the third time in history the franchise would pull the trigger on a signal-caller with their first round pick. Tommy, Daunte…meet Christian.
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Only time will tell whether or not Ponder will develop into the type of quarterback the Vikings have been so desperately in search of ever since the day Sir Fran rode off into the sunset. But I give Frazier, Spielman and Scott Studwell & Company credit for having the intestinal fortitude to identify a need and the conviction to stick to their guns.
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A lot of draft-wonks will have you believe the Vikings got fleeced – that they could have easily traded down and amassed later picks. They will also tell you that in the ongoing debate of drafting for “Need” vs “Best Player Available” that Minnesota had more glaring needs and didn’t even draft the best player available for said need.
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Then again there are other experts who think the Vikings absolutely nailed it. A certain CBSSports.com expert graded Minnesota with an A for taking Ponder at 12. Any of you who know who I’m talking about almost certainly realizes that having such a ringing endorsement from this writer is like being selected to be on the cover of Madden…sorry Mr. Hillis.
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Yet, I will take a tall glass of the Purple Ponder Kool-Aid. Regardless of expert analysis, Senior Bowl or Scouting Combine performances, and YouTube highlight reels, there remains an intangible that no other quarterback who will be drafted in 2011 possesses which can be summed up in two words: Bill Musgrave.
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The newly acquired Offensive Coordinator for the Vikings has made a career out of coaching and developing quarterbacks. He tutored Matt Schaub at the University of Virginia that subsequently led to new school records. And more recently with the Altanta Falcons, working with only one of the better rookie quarterbacks to start year one in the last five years, Matt Ryan…maybe you’ve heard of him.
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Now, that’s not to say that Christian Ponder is the next Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco/Sam Bradford re-incarnate. Nor is it to say that our selection of the Florida State Seminole will solve all of our problems. Far from the contrary, in fact, a lot will depend on how well we shore up the remaining areas of need within our 12-man (okay some old jokes are just too good to let die) our 11-man roster, defense notwithstanding.
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In my opinion though, it was a pick well worth the risk, and frankly long overdue. Had the Vikings traded down and missed on a quarterback in the first round, and missed again for whatever reason at pick 43, the collective mass of “rubes” huddled at Winter Park would have made the boos heard after the Ponder pick sound like a faint whisper in the distance.
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And let’s be honest with each other for a moment. If Ponder leads the Vikings under center in Week 1 and into October looking at a 3-1 record, we will all be there on Sunday afternoon screaming his name. Dare I say, he may even rival a certain other number 7, who resides approximately twelve blocks to the west, for the most jersey sale revenue in Minneapolis/St. Paul for 2011?
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Time will tell…I for one can not wait!
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Andy Boyum
Farmington, MN
Fantasy Football enthusiast since 1999
Commissioner: Purple Pride Fantasy League 2002-present: 1 Championship (2004)
RT Sports Commissioner Money League Champion: 2003 & 2005
Keeper League Champion 2006, 07 & 09
Yahoo PPR Champion: 2010

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