Pressure Pushing Ponder
By Travis West
At the start of the month, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen told third-year quarterback Christian Ponder that he has to be the guy that makes this team a Super Bowl contender.
"Adrian can carry this team so far, our defense can carry this team so far. You know you look at team’s that historically win championships and they have consistent play from the quarterback position," Allen said on Jim Rome's show.
Key additions at wide receiver this off season raise the expectations for the Vikings as they look improve on their recent success, after going 10-6 in 2012. Greg Jennings will help younger receivers like Jarius Wright and Cordarrelle Patterson feel their way around the field. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is only getting stronger and his rapport with Ponder will continue to thrive.
Adrian Peterson will be himself and put terror in the eyes of every NFL defender on every down he has the ball in his hands.
Offensively, the only question mark the Vikings have left to be answered is at quarterback.
After starting the first five games without an interception, Ponder ended the season 25th in passing yards, averaging 171 yards a game.
There is no doubt that if the Vikings are going to be a dominant team in the NFC North, Ponder will need to continue to develop.
As Ponder heads into his third year on his four-year contract, many expect the quarterback to take the reigns and command this offense much like his NFC North counterparts in Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
If Ponder can pull through, the sky is the limit for the Vikings.
At times during last year, Ponder made throws at times that surprised some people; so we know that the skill is there, but it's whether or not he can be consistent and not turn the ball over
Adding a steady passing game to the dominate run game of the Vikings will force defenses to think twice before just committing to stopping Peterson.
Ponder has one more season on his contract, and if he wants to be the Vikings’ long-term quarterback, he will need to show that he can take the team to the promise land.