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Vikings gamble on Ponder at No. 12

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Posted April 28, 2011 @ 10:35 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Are you awake now, Vikings fans? If not, you need a defibrillator.

The Vikings needed a quarterback. They took a quarterback. So why are Vikings fans so upset?

Christian Ponder played like a first-round draft pick at times in college. He turned a downward-spiraling Florida State program around and has it back where it has used to being. He rallied his teammates when no one else was doing so.

If you're the Vikings and you're badly in need of a dose of this kind of thing, fully in rebuilding mode, don't you want a little Ponder in your world?

Here's the problem: The kid gets hurt. A lot. A separated shoulder in 2009. This year, a triceps injury, a ruptured bursa, a concussion ...

He's tough, but he's going to be an injury risk every season unless the Vikings improve their protection. Roll back a few of those Brett Favre hits from last season if you disagree with me.

Ponder is not Favre, of course, and that most certainly is true in one way: arm strength. He's a dinker and a dunker, a West Coast guy. Yes, Favre was a West Coast guy in theory, but that version of the offense was difference.

The Vikings had said that they were getting away from the West Coast stuff, but new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has a background in the offense and is sure to bring elements of that scheme to Minnesota, especially now that Ponder is the pick.

If it puzzles you why the Vikings would take a player that many had hoped to perhaps get in Round Two, forget about it. Never would have happened. Without a full offseason and free-agency period, we saw right away how valuable quarterbacks would be. Four went off the board in the first 12 picks, and more will have gone off before the Vikings picked again. They would have had no shot at their guy in Round Two.

Ponder will run through a wall for his team. He'll fight hardest when times get tough. He even willingly will bear Minnesota winters, apparently. Fans could grow to love this pick — if he can stay on the field.


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