It’s been an oddball year for Christian Ponder. Most people agree that he was on the quarterback hot seat coming into 2013. This was the year that the Minnesota Vikings needed to see him take the next step. Things didn’t get off to a great start, though. Ponder led the Vikings to an 0-3 record and then was sidelined with cracked ribs in week four. After that, things got real messy.
The Vikings then started a game of QB-musical chairs. Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman both took turns manning the ship, but both players failed to gain control of the position. Then as week eight rolled around, the decision to go back to Ponder was an easy one. Now as the Vikings are in the midst of a 10-day break before week 11, Ponder is hurt again and more questions than ever surround the QB position in Minneapolis.
Unlike the last time he got hurt, it seems pretty clear that the Vikings want him back under center. Ponder is currently recovering from a separated shoulder on this non-throwing arm and his status for next Sunday is unknown. But regardless of whether or not he plays in week 11, I think he’ll be back out there at some point. When he does take the field again, I can’t help but wonder if it will equate to nothing more than an audition?
Ponder has played well for the most part this season, but he certainly hasn’t turned any heads. He’s showed resilience and toughness that fans didn’t know he had, but yet he’s still not evolving as a pocket passer to the extent the Vikings want him to. There’s no doubt he’s a much better QB than the one who took the field in 2011, but just because he’s improved, doesn’t mean he’s earned another season.
We’ll have to see how things unfold for Minnesota the rest of the way, but my guess is that Ponder is done with the Vikings after 2013. If he continues to play well, maybe the team could get a late-round draft pick for him in a trade? All I know is that the Vikings are headed to a top 10 pick in May’s draft and I believe they should use that pick on another QB.