I’ll admit I was shocked to hear Christian Ponder’s name called at 12 last night, but that was less about him and more about reaching for a player they maybe could have had in the middle to latter part of the round. I say maybe because Miami was rumored to be interested in Ponder at 15 and Washington, after trading with Jacksonville, was sitting at 16 with a QB need of their own. Speaking of that Washington/Jacksonville trade, if Tennessee taking Locker turned the Vikings plans upside down, this trade kicked them across the street. Not only did Jacksonville swoop in and take Gabbert right when we thought there was a chance he’d slip to 12, but Washington moving to 16 spooked the Vikings out of pursuing a trade down with the intent of getting Ponder and recovering the infamous Randy Moss 3rd round pick.
At the end of it all, and after some time to reflect, we may have been done a favor. Ponder is the most NFL ready QB in this draft and if he can get his injury history straightened out he has all the tools to be special. Once I saw the following stat line from Ponder’s senior season last night, I was sold: 16/1 TD to INT ratio in the red zone and 41 of 45 of his passes on third down either moved the chains or resulted in TDs. More on Ponder at a later date, but the Vikings got a guy that is accurate, tough, smart and gets it done in crunch time. I can live with that at 12.
Things will quickly get interesting again tonight as there are a number of first round prospects still on the board that may be available come the Vikings 43rd pick. I expect that the Vikings will again look to trade down and gain a pick in the 3rd round unless a player like DT Stephen Paea, CB Brandon Harris, S Rahim Moore, or DE Da’Quan Bowers is still on the board. If able to move down, there should be good O-line talent available later in the round in G/C Rodney Hudson, G/T Orlando Franklin, or OT Ben Ijalana. Look for the Vikings to come away with one of these players.