Minnesota Vikings Are Best When Christian Ponder Goes Deep

By Devin O'Barr
Christian Ponder drops back to pass
Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are entering the 2013 offseason in a unique position as the team has the most dominant running back in the league and perhaps the biggest question mark at quarterback. If the Vikings hope to return to the NFL playoffs this season they must rely on Christian Ponder even more, especially when it comes to throwing the long ball.

Beating the Green Bay Packers in week 17 was the highlight of Minnesota’s season as that gave them a playoff berth and Ponder shined with a three touchdown effort.

Looking back on the entire 2012 campaign offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sure put the handcuffs on Ponder’s vertical attack. In particular, just 36 of Ponder’s 483 pass attempts went further than 20 yards.

7.5 percent of Ponder’s passes traveled further than 20 yards which is the lowest of any NFL quarterback. This can’t happen in 2013-14 as the Vikings are selling Ponder and the clubs wide receivers short making it nearly impossible for the team to asses their young players on offense.

The Vikings have to design more plays where he is throwing the ball deeper as you cannot expect Adrian Peterson to shoulder such a heavy load once again.

Jarius Wright is the player to keep an eye on as he was one of Ponder’s favorite deep-threats in 2012-13 and is just 23-years-old. I hope this offseason gives the Vikings entire coaching staff some time to reassess the team’s offensive attack–balance is the key to any great offense and the Vikings were more run heavy than they needed to be last year.

I’m not asking them to become a passing team, but giving Ponder more freedom in the pocket to go downfield will only improve the Vikings offense as a whole.

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