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The general consensus is that the lockout will put rookies at a disadvantage because they won’t be able to go through the OTAs, which will delay their adjustment to the NFL. While that may be the case for most rookies, Minnesota’s rookie QB Christian Ponder is trying to beat the odds.
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Ponder has a copy of the Vikings’ playbook. After scoring a 35 on the Wonderlic the fear that he won’t grasp the offense should be minimal.
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He’s also working with Minnesota native and fellow Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke as well as Joe Webb at the IMG Academy.
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Ponder displayed his leadership qualities by organizing an unofficial minicamp. While the heavy hitters were not in attendance Ponder and Webb got a chance to work with rookie Kyle Rudolph. Greg Camarillo was also there to provide a veteran presence.
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While this doesn’t mean Christian Ponder will be ready to hit the ground running whenever the labor dispute is settled, it is certainly a good sign for Vikings fans.
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This article is also featured at NFLTouchdown.com, where I am the Vikings Fan Voice writer.
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 | Posted by | Categories: NFL | Tagged: Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings, NFL |


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Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is by far the best in the division. The writing was on the wall the wall he handled the Brett Favre situation while still delivering on the field. A concussion cost Rodgers from reaching 4000 yards for a third straight year, but fantasy owners can live with the 3922 yards, 28 TDs (11 INTs), 356 rushing yards, and four rushing TDs. If he’s not the best fantasy quarterback in the league, he is certainly a top three choice.
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Chicago’s Jay Cutler cut his interception total from 26 to 16. His yardage (3274) and touchdowns (23) also dipped, but the Bears were winning and more committed to the run. He doesn’t have great weapons around him, but he makes do. The Bears drafted Gabe Carimi to provide some much needed improvement on the offensive line. His toughness may have come into question, but his arm strength never will. He’s a solid QB2 that is really hit or miss.
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Detroit’s Matthew Stafford just can’t seem to stay healthy. The Lions did not invest heavily in their offensive line, as their play was actually not that bad. They did give him some complimentary weapons in the form of Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure to add to Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, and Jahvid Best. Don’t look now, but the Lions are on the rise. If the injury bug bites again, Shaun Hill has shown that he’s more than capable to step up.
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The Vikings finally addressed the quarterback situation with a long-term solution. Christian Ponder is a good fit for the offense and has the experience to play right away. The team will likely add a veteran to mentor Ponder, but it appears he’ll get his shot. If Sidney Rice does not return, the Vikings will need to give Percy Harvin some help at WR. Adrian Peterson will make the life of a rookie quarterback easier.
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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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Obviously quarterbacks were big early, with none bigger than Cam Newton. He should have no trouble beating out Jimmy Clausen as long as he’s able to get the reps to learn the playbook. The labor situation comes into play once again. He’s a bit of a risk as a dynasty quarterback. You just don’t know how he’ll fair at the next level. He is an amazing athlete though that has major upside.
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With the Steve Smith era likely over, Newton will be working with David Gettis and Brandon LaFell. Not exactly the who’s who of NFL receivers, but they showed some flashes last year. Given the quarterback issues in Carolina last year, it’s not really fair to give them a grade.
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The loser is this draft pick, aside from the obvious choice of Jimmy Clausen, is Jonathan Stewart. Newton is a gifted runner that will vulture some of his would be rushing touchdowns.
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Jake Locker found a good landing place. Who wouldn’t want to have Chris Johnson in the backfield and Kenny Britt (assuming he doesn’t get himself arrested or suspended) to throw to? Accuracy has been an issue for Locker, but Britt has the ability to erase mistakes. While he doesn’t have the upside of Newton, he could turn into a solid NFL (and fantasy) quarterback.
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I would take Blaine Gabbert over Locker in dynasty leagues, but Locker is probably the second quarterback (behind Newton) that I would take in redraft leagues. We’ll have to see how the rest of the draft and free agency period plays out before I make a firm assessment.
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Blaine Gabbert landed in a good place for him. He will be afforded the time to develop playing behind David Garrard. Garrard, who learned under Byron Leftwich, is a good team player and will be suitable teacher for Gabbert. The pick doesn’t affect the skill position players as he won’t likely take the field unless things go sour of the Jags.
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One long-term concern is the hot seat the Jack Del Rio seems to continually be on. If he loses his job, will a new coach want to make his mark with his own guy? Especially if he does play and stink it up, a la Jimmy Clausen. That is back-of-the-mind concern though and shouldn’t have too much weight in your decision to take him in dynasty drafts.
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Finally we come to Christian Ponder, a pick that did not go over well with Vikings fans. He’s smart, with enough athleticism and accuracy to make him a quality NFL quarterback. Injuries have dogged him the past couple of years, but the jury is certainly still out on him in that regard. I think he’ll be a solid pro, I just don’t know that the Vikings wouldn’t have been better served taking Nick Fairley, Mike Pouncey, or Prince Amukamara with the 12th pick and went after a quarterback in the second round.
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Ponder has one of the best running backs in the game (Adrian Peterson) to hand off to and a gifted receiver in Percy Harvin. Sidney Rice may have leave via free agency, but the Vikings have been committed to addressing needs under Zygi Wilf. The Vikings will add a veteran quarterback, but we’ll have to wait and see if it is to be a mentor or a stopgap.


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Only  time will tell if the first pick of the Leslie Frazier era pans out, but it reeks of desperation. Maybe not as bad as Brad Childress trading up to get Tarvaris Jackson, but then again, maybe it was. We are talking about the 12th pick in the draft.
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The Vikings had to address the quarterback situation in this draft, but with Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett still on the board, do the Vikings wish they had a mulligan? I’m sure they are convinced that they got their guy, but the majority of Vikings fans don’t seem to think so.
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The Vikings could have addressed a major need at defensive tackle with Nick Fairley, a player once considered worthy of the number one pick. The Williams Wall has cracked. There is a strong possibility that Pat Williams never wears purple again. Fairley could have been his heir. Instead the Lions grabbed him, and playing alongside Ndamukong Suh gives the Lions one of the best defensive fronts in the game.
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The Vikings have major deficiencies at offensive guard. The 12th pick may be a little high for Mike Pouncey, but if we were to do the 2010 draft over, his brother Maurkice (the 18th pick) would likely be a top ten selection. Shoring up their offensive line is nearly as important as solidifying the quarterback position.
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Prince Amukamara was considered a top ten talent, slightly behind top-five pick Patrick Peterson at cornerback. He slid to the Giants at the 19th pick. Given the condition of the Vikings’ defensive secondary, Prince would be an ideal addition on the eve of the Royal Wedding.
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Even if they had their heart set on Ponder, trading down would have made sense. The Vikings either drafted for need rather than best available or they miscalculated the number of quarterbacks that would go in the first round. Perhaps when Jake Locker went to the Titans and the Jaguars traded up for Blaine Gabbert, they started to feel the pressure. All the talk of teams trading up into the bottom of the draft to take a quarterback never materialized. In fact, no quarterback went off the board after the Vikings took Ponder, some might say prematurely.
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You can’t change the past though. Ponder was the pick. Of all the quarterbacks, nobody did better to improve their stock after the season than Ponder. He played well at the Senior Bowl. He was great at the Combine. He nailed the Wonderlic test. Sometimes we put too much stock in the numbers, but Ponder threw for 6767 yards and just 48 touchdowns in  his three years as a starter. He battled injuries the past two years. Injuries happen, but if he dealt with them at the collegiate level, the Vikings have to be concerned how he’ll hold up against the big boys. Especially in the NFC North facing Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Suh.
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The new coach hitched his wagon to a rookie quarterback. It’s not uncommon. Time will tell if it was the right wagon.
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This article is also featured at NFLTouchdown.com, where I am the Vikings Fan Voice writer.


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