Leslie Frazier is impressed with Christian Ponder. Maybe a little too impressed.
Wednesday on Dan Barreiro‘s Bumper to Bumper Show, Frazier talked about Ponder’s leadership in organizing last week’s work outs…and perhaps got a little carried away in his praise.
Frazier told Barreiro, “For Christian to take it upon himself to try to rally the guys and bring them down to Florida to work out with he and some of the other players…that takes a lot of courage to do that.”
I now have this image of Christian Ponder in a lion’s den. When will he be getting his statue? Tim Tebow has one, so why not Ponder too?
Okay, so maybe Leslie overstated things a tad, but we still take his point. Christian Ponder has leadership skills. As Frazier put it, such initiative in a rookie is “very encouraging.”
Slightly less encouraging was the veteran turn-out at the impromptu camp. Greg Camarillo showed up…and that was about it for established players (unless you count Joe Webb as an established player). So is Frazier concerned that his men aren’t getting enough organized work during the lockout?
Actually, he’s not. In fact, Frazier indicated that in his mind such non-supervised work outs are pretty much worthless. And Frazier speaks from experience, having been a player during the 1982 strike.
“I’ve been in that situation,” Frazier told Barreiro. “When we were on strike in ’82, when we would come together as a group…over time the intensity level of it, the fact that there’s no one holding you accountable for snap counts or alignments…pretty soon guys’ minds drift, you start talking about vacations, and other things. I just know from personal experience it’s more important that the guys are doing something, even if they’re doing it on their own. It doesn’t have to be in a group setting. That’s not all it’s drummed up to be.”
Frazier also spoke about the question of the Vikings acquiring a veteran QB to give Ponder and Webb some competition in camp. The coach seemed to indicate that it’s not a slam-dunk the Vikings will try to pick up an established player. He did acknowledge that the length of the lockout will be a factor in making that decision, the thinking being that a veteran needs less training camp than a rookie, but he said it’s not “the only factor.” As Frazier pointed out, a newly-acquired veteran would still need time to learn the system.
“The one thing you thought you were gaining by having a veteran guy with experience, you don’t necessarily gain because it’s a new system for him,” Frazier said. “So it depends on who that veteran player is, whether or not he’s been in the same system his entire career. So there are so many other factors involved. So then you’ve got to weigh, is it better just to give your young quarterback those opportunities knowing that there are going to be some ups-and-downs, and can you live with those and still be successful.” Frazier added, “We think we have some pieces in place on our roster, that we don’t just have to be satisfied with being a mediocre team.”
In other words, if the Vikings can find the right guy at the right price, they would love to bring him in and make another run. If not, they’re prepared to let the Christian Ponder era begin.