Christian Ponder's season ended with a thud.
When Ponder was slammed to the turf in the Week 17 loss to the Bears, it hit right on the hip injury that had been bothering the QB for weeks. That was it. He was done.
It was the second time in the past month that he had been knocked out of a game, and his third removal if you count his benching as a result of the balky hip against the Lions.
Things certainly didn't end well for Ponder, who saw his play regress and faced questions about whether Joe Webb was the better option there. But Webb also struggled in the second half against the Bears, and the Vikings made it clear which direction they are heading going forward: They are backing Ponder for the future.
His accuracy, mechanics and carelessness are things he must work on through the offseason program. Staying healthy also will be an area of focus, given the beating he took in college and through one pro season.