It's time to play the rookie!

I dont know about you Vikings fans, but im starting to get a bit pissed at watching what i see as a good competitive football team in the hands of an aging quarterback brought in to deliver us unto the promised land but instead providing only mediocre play and if anything makeing our team worse.

Dont get me wrong im not blaming everything that has happened so far this season squarely on McNabb there is plenty of blame to go around, that includes the Vikings front office and coaching staff. But ill get to that another time. For now ill just focus on the quarterback position.

The Vikings currently sit at 1-4 with no chance in hell of making the playoff’s. Our QB play has been poor, our  wide recivers have been practically non existent (see Bernard Berrian) and our offensive line has really struggled (although we were always expecting that). And so i ask what do we have to loose by playing Christian Ponder?.

The Vikings owe nothing to Donavan McNabb he is nothing more than a stopgap quarterback brought in cheaply to fill a hole, if it worked out well for both parties then great but it hasnt worked out that way. Now its time to play the rookie. With the Vikings seemingly getting worse week by week surely there comes a time that Leslie Frazier will want to see what Christian Ponder has got to offer.

Sure it is a bit hard on the rookie to chuck him into the Vikings current situation, but if anything it will show us Vikings fans what he’s made off. If he comes in plays well and helps this team win without any real help apart from AP we will know he has the ability to lead this team for years to come. If he comes in cracks under the pressure and doesnt look the part we know he may not be the answer.

With the season only five games in the Vikings could always choose to start Ponder for a few games and if he doesnt find his feet just take him out and replace him with either McNabb or Joe Webb. Then return to Ponder later on in the season. That would give Ponder the chance to reflect on his first experiance in the NFL and give the Vikings coaching staff more time to work with him on any of his shortcomings.

After all what is the worst possible outcome for the Vikings this season? we go 1-15 and draft a one in a generation talent in Andrew Luck, a quarterback that can really push this franchise into the forefront of the NFL over the coming years! would that really be all that bad?. You just have to look at what the Lions are doing to see all the difference a franchise quarterback can make.  It couldnt hurt the Vikings stadium plans either to have a Andrew Luck/Adrian Peterson combination leading our franchise into the future.

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  • TomSimano

    Scott, I’m with ya’ man, I thought the same thing last week, give the ball to Ponder, give him 5 games, if he flops or is not showing anything, put in Webb. I do want to keep McNabb, as a veteran he should know that getting benched isn’t the end of the world for him.

    However, yesterday Aromashodu and Jenkins have showed some things, and Percy is always a good WR. If there is a rhythm established, and Percy can be used in the slot and moved around, that would help any rookie QB.

    Also, Ponder has the benefit of a offensive line that has looked marginally OK and even average (which is IONS ahead of what we thought we’d have). We have Peterson running like a possessed man, and that’s a good situation for a rookie.

    Also, 0 pressure to win because we’re statistically out of it.

  • tuckerbjt

    My feelings on this topic have flipped and flopped every week. Right now, I don’t see the utility in throwing Ponder in. I’m not much for the “let’s see what we’ve got” mentality. There are veterans on this team that I would like to keep around and playing hard for a few years…and, honestly, in the modern NFL, who can say that Minnesota couldn’t rip off a winning streak? I agree: that sounds ridiculous right now. But we’ve seen weird things happen. (I don’t mean they would go 12-4 and win the super bowl, but would any of us be upset if they went 7-9 and this year? I would be pretty happy considering how we started.)

    The offensive line was very good against Arizona, but pretty bad the rest of the year, and I’m not ready to trust them just yet. Please don’t let Ponder get beat up.

    I am a proponent of “playing to win,” even when your team is 1-4 and realistically has no chance to catch the top two teams in your division. In this case, I feel comfortable trusting Frazier; Leslie is at practice every day, so he knows where Ponder’s development is. Leslie knows the pulse of the locker room, so I trust that he is considering how it would affect the team. I think it is sort of tragic when young guys get thrust in before they are ready; granted I dont know if Ponder is ready….I just dont want to find out the hard way. I also worry that we will put him in and then make him run the Tarvaris Jackson offense: run run, play action short pass….run run, play action short pass… That’s not how you “see what you’ve got,” that’s how you stunt a QBs growth and stunt your offense in the process. If I could somehow get a guarantee that Musgrave and Frazier would really let Ponder loose, I’d be OK….

  • TomSimano

    @tuckerbjt This is true, I’m also in the playing to win category, really not matter the record. I enjoy the Vikings, and regardless of record I am rooting for them to win. If we finished 7-9, and 2 of our victories were against the Packers, that would be damn cool. Ok, one victory and I’d be happy. If we are getting a little better week by week then cool, play to win, otherwise you are right, the veterans check out.

    All has been quiet on the Ponder front, we’ve not heard anything about his development, so we don’ t know how where he’s at, maybe he is overloaded at this point.

    I guess for me the best time for a change would be during the bye week, give the rookie extra time to prepare…if it’s going to happen, that is when we will see a change.