After multiple reports of training camp struggles, Christian Ponder came out in the first preseason game and looked pretty darn solid. His highlight by far was a 52-yard completion to Stephen Burton on the first drive. Ponder stepped up in the pocket and confidently delivered the deep ball to the second-year receiver who was starting at flanker in place of Percy Harvin. Ponder’s other positive plays went to Kyle Rudolph, who displayed his usual sure-handedness.
Speaking of sure-handedness…Ponder could’ve used some from his receivers. Big free-agent acquisition Jerome Simpson had one in the opening drive, Stephen Burton had one, and Michael Jenkins had one in the red zone that killed a scoring chance. Those drops plus a couple of throwaways hurt Ponder’s percentage, but stats aren’t important. Ponder looked like he was in command of what he was doing. Decide for yourself how much that matters in a preseason game with a vanilla offensive game plan in action. It was against the first-team 49ers defense.
You might be wondering how Matt Kalil looked. Well, he did have one glaring whiff allowing a pass rusher to get in Ponder’s face, forcing a throwaway. Otherwise Kalil seemed to hold his own. The Vikings did find some success running the ball to the right with John Sullivan doing his best Matt Birk impression as a pulling center. Toby Gerhart had the big running highlight of the first team portion, rumbling and pounding his way for 16.
Blair Walsh looked good too, sticking a pair of field goals and booming one kick-off deep into the end zone. As for the defense…eeeeeeuuuuh.