Is Minnesota’s Christian Ponder the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL Quarterbacks?

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Somehow, I know quite a few Minnesota Viking fans. A common trait they all share is their displeasure — bordering on embarassment — in regard to Minnesota’s starting quarterback, Christian Ponder. “We’d be fine if we had a better quarterback” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once from more than one disgruntled fan.

I must be honest and say that I haven’t spent a lot of time watching Ponder or the Vikings play over the past few years. One game I did watch was the Viking’s Week 17 win over Green Bay, a game that clinched a playoff berth for Minnesota. I then tuned in the following week to watch the Vikings lose to that very same Green Bay team by two touchdowns. There were only two notable differences between the first and second game: the location and Minnesota’s starting quarterback.

Let’s be honest here. Homefield advantage is important, however, it is not worth a 17 point swing between two playoff teams. Yet that’s what happened last season when Minnesota won the first matchup with Green Bay by 3 and lost the second one by 14. The difference in the second game, more than anything else, was that Ponder did not play. I’m not going to sit here and argue that Minnesota would have beat Green Bay with Ponder, but I will say I think Ponder would have outperformed Joe Webb (11-30, 180 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT). Just one week earlier, Ponder went for 234 yards, three touchdowns and no picks against the Packers.

Yes, everyone would love to have Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees quarterbacking their team, both those guys are the absolute cream of the crop. They are not a dime a dozen. If you don’t have one of those guys, the best you can hope for is a solid performer who limits mistakes and can lead a team in any situation. In my opinion, that is what Ponder does.

I’ve heard some people mention Ponder as one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Statistically, nothing could be further from the truth. Ponder’s completion percentage of 62.1 in 2012 was less than a point lower than Tom Brady’s and higher than that of Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford and Joe Flacco. His passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio were basically the same as Jay Cutler’s and higher than Andrew Luck’s.

If Ponder is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, what does that make Eli Manning and Joe Flacco?

The fact is, a lot of the negativity directed at Ponder is the result of him not being a great fantasy option. In a world where your fantasy football rep is dangerously close to defining your worth as a player, fans don’t seem to respect a quarterback who doesn’t throw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns every year. Ponder hasn’t done that and likely won’t as long as Adrian Peterson is carrying the ball for the Vikings.

Ponder has the ability to throw with the best of them in a shootout, he just rarely has to. Unfortunately, it may take losing Adrian Peterson again for a long stretch of the season for Ponder to prove his worth to both Viking and football fans in general.

For now, we all have to do our best to convince ourselves that not every quarterback has to be Drew Brees. Sometimes a guy like Ponder who just gets the job done without putting up video game numbers and throwing highlight reel passes is your best option. I’d personally take a guy who throws 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over a guy who throws 30 touchdowns and 17 interceptions any day, especially when you have a back like Peterson to make up the difference.

BY J.P. SCOTT ON MAY 20, 2013

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4 thoughts on “Is Minnesota’s Christian Ponder the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL Quarterbacks?

  1. May 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    you missed another big difference…in the playoff game, green bay had 2 of it’s best defenders back from injury and on the field, fresh and ready to play. they did not play in the last week of the regular season.

  2. May 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    concerning the comparison of Ponder to the other qb’s….look at the depth of throw. Once you take out all the yards from every team that was gained after the catch, you realize that Ponder’s stats with regards to passing yards was over 50% yards after the catch. You will also notice that he had the lowest yards at the catch than any qb in the league. If you want to compare stats, then you might want to compare the meaning of the stats.

    What makes the other qb’s so good?

    1)They can consistently throw passes of all different lengths with accuracy
    2) They have better mechanics
    3) they can read the defense better before the snap
    4) they can adjust the plays before the snap
    5) they can consistently make more than 2 reads in 4 seconds
    6) they can consistently make the correct decision on which read to throw the ball to
    7) they can consistently feel the pressure in the pocket and step away from it, not towards it.

    Truth is, Ponder is woefully inconsistent. Someone who is more consistent, but widely hailed as a horrible qb is tim tebow…yet you aren’t defending him, despite leading the broncos to the playoffs much more convincingly than Ponder did with the Vikings.

  3. different chris
    May 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    You also need to look at the offensive scheme that the QB was working in. When you have a woefully mediocre WR corps outside of your uniquely talented slot receiver, combined with a defense that is pressing the LOS to break up your dominant run game, you end up with a lot of short passes to Percy and a lot of drops to the split ends. could Ponder be more accurate on the longer passes? Absolutely. I think that 2013 is the make or break season for Christian Ponder, as there should be no excuses with the retooled WR’s he has at his disposal.

  4. Richard Jones
    May 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    GREAT ARTICLE!! Some fans need to open their eyes and their minds and realize our YOUNG quarterback is on pace and will be just fine! Really great article!

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