It has been no secret that since entering the NFL, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has had a problem throwing interceptions, and more specifically, with his decision-making skills. Ponder routinely will find himself in dire situations where he is on the run from defenders, and the decision he makes is to force a bad throw downfield.
A perfect example of this was in the game last Sunday against the Detroit Lions when Ponder was on the run, started his throwing motion, was hit by a Lions defender and saw the ball wobble out of his hand and into the lap of a Lions linebacker. This type of turnover has become routine for Ponder, that is a situation where he appears to think he has the arm of a Peyton Manning and tries making a spectacular throw. But it needs to stop in order for the Vikings to be successful.
His decision-making also comes into question when he has plenty of room and time in the pocket, but his receivers are covered. In a situation when he should look for a hole to run through, he instead decides to throw the ball to the deepest receiver on the field. These type of mistakes by Ponder are clearly not going away as he continues to showcase them in his third NFL season.
To show just how important his turnovers are, the Vikings are 9-2 in games where Ponder has zero interceptions and 3-13 when he has one or more interceptions since he began starting in 2011. His mistakes have clearly hurt the Vikings in the past, and the four turnovers he had on Sunday, although one wasn’t his fault, desperately hurt a team that had the lead early and were looking for a win.
Game-manager is an adequate term to use when describing Ponder. On a team that is run-oriented, all he must do is simply manage the game and limit turnovers. Ponder has failed to do that multiple times in his career, including the first game of this year. If that trend is to continue, as many expect it to, Ponder will likely find his way out of Minnesota after this season.