Sep 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) talks with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave against the San Francisco 49ers at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the 49ers 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Musgrave Must Let Ponder Play

If the Vikings really want to find out what they have in quarterback Christian Ponder, they’ll have to loosen up on him a little bit. It sounds absurd, but it is a absolutely necessary.

Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave coaches against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave currently has all the authority when it comes to playcalling.  Ponder needs to be allowed to move pieces around and even change plays at the line to help his team become more successful. No wonder people question Ponder’s leadership and ability. It stems from having very little control over what the team is doing.

One prime example of this is the game last week against Chicago.  On the Vikings last drive of the game, it was 3rd down with 4 yards to go for a touchdown.  Musgrave called an Adrian Peterson run up the gut.  The defense was stacked to stop the run, but there was nothing Ponder could do to alter the call. When Ponder was asked on Wednesday in his quarterbacks meeting if he had the authority to change that play to a pass at the line, he replied “No, I did not.”

Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

If this Vikings team wants to gain respect and confidence in Ponder, they have to let him play.  While the run on that play didn’t result in a touchdown, it did end up putting a field goal through the uprights.  This is another instance where Musgrave’s conservative playcalling is hurting the team more than the play of their quarterback.


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Tags: Adrian Peterson Bill Musgrave Christian Ponder Minnesota Vikings

  • Daniel Laxen

    How can you possibly believe this? Have you watched Ponder this year? 4 INTs and a fumble. Everyone horrible passes, including the one that was high, floated out to Simpson vs. press coverage. The same thing happened last season when Ponder showed his true colors. His overall QB rating in the 1st half is an 8 for heavens sake! That’s right an 8! How do you defend this turd? His time is getting short and if he struggles vs. the Browns he’ll cut his own throat. What is amazing is how the Vikings have been in games as bad as Ponder has played in the 1st half. The horrible defense that people have been calling out gave up 7 points in the 2nd half vs. the Bears. All Ponder need to do was cash in a TD on any of the 3 failed drives into the red zone. Good players make plays. Great players make other players look good. Ponder does neither!

    • Adam B. Carlson

      I am neither defending nor praising Ponder. I just want the team to be able to finally get an assessment of him so they can decide to move on or move forward. I don’t know whether or not Ponder will be able to succeed and become the long term answer, but he deserves a chance to prove it.

  • Lars McDougal

    musgrave is reminding me a lot of brad childress. you got to be aggressive to a road win.

  • Rick Hodad

    There’s no doubt that Ponder has made some stupid mistakes, but he has also been let down by his offensive line and his offensive coordinator several times this season. Musgrave didn’t just blow the third down call, but he backed it up by not going for the TD on fourth down when the Vikings had the momentum. The Vikes are up by three on the four – score and put the game away, or don’t score and keep the Bears long and the ball out of Hester’s hands. Hester had been killing the Vikings special teams unit all day. Time on the clock was critical at that point. With three points and a long field the Vikings have more opportunity to stop a drive, and it may have put the Bears into a position where they didn’t press so hard for a touchdown when they could opt for a field goal to tie.