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Report: Ponder to start for Vikings

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Posted Oct. 18, 2011 @ 2:06 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

Updated Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:43 p.m. ET

Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder will be the starter, supplanting Donovan McNabb, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports.

Ponder saw his first action of the season Sunday night against the Bears, going 9-17 with 99 yards and no touchdowns.

McNabb started the first six games, posting 1,026 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.


The way we see it

With the season essentially over, it was time for the Vikings to make the switch and see what they had in their young quarterback.

While McNabb's play had been improving, the team is 1-5 and not going anywhere. Ponder looked solid in his first game action against the Bears, showing good athleticism and zip on the ball. Ponder will have his struggles like all rookies do, but will get a chance to prove himself as the Vikings prepare for 2012.

For McNabb, this signals the end of his Vikings tenure, barring injury. It may also signal the end of his time as a starter in the league, whether it be retirement or signing on to be a backup somewhere in 2012. He has proven over the last two seasons that he no longer has the skills to lead a team week after week.


PFW's fantasy spin

One would assume the move to a rookie quarterback would hurt the other skill-position players. The truth is, former starter Donovan McNabb was averaging only 171 yards and 0.7 TDs per game. That's what I expect from a rookie, not a veteran.

Ponder will throw and kill many drives with interceptions, but he'll also provide greater opportunities, including trying to create a deep passing game. Ponder does not have a strong arm, but Steve Young once said a deep ball in the West Coast offense is 20 yards. Ponder's skills are perfect for the West Coast offense, but he has no value right now; rookie quarterbacks tend to perform poorly. Panthers QB Cam Newton is an exception, but he's struggling with his passing deficiencies. He has more interceptions (nine) than passing touchdowns (seven), as it's his legs that have made the difference, with six rushing touchdowns. Don't think you're going to see a repeat of what Newton has done; they're two different types of players. Ponder is only worth picking up in dynasty leagues, but he's a watch-list player until he shows us something, which is unlikely in his rookie year.

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