Not that any announcement needed to be made, but on Wednesday the Vikings announced that Josh Freeman will be the starter Monday night against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. Yeah big reveal there Vikings. Like we didn’t have that one figured out from the second Freeman was signed. The Vikes want Christian Ponder out as quickly as possible? Stop the presses.
So, no surprise, Josh Freeman is in and Christian Ponder is the #2. But where exactly does that leave Mr. Ponder? The Vikings are right now rolling with three QBs who have significant starting experience in the NFL. Freeman is the starter and Matt Cassel is the more natural backup. That leaves Ponder the odd-man-out in a very messy equation.
I can’t say what the Vikings’ plans are regarding Ponder, but I have a feeling Mr. Ponder would prefer to move on as soon as possible. He hasn’t outright demanded a trade – and for him to do so would be ludicrous given his standing as at best a third-tier quarterback – but read between the lines of his comments in the wake of the Freeman announcement and you kind of get the feeling he would welcome one.
When asked what is next for him and the Vikings after his demotion Ponder replied, “[figuring out] what’s best for me and for this team. I don’t know if that’s staying here or going somewhere else.”
Let it be noted for the record that Ponder brought up “going somewhere else” without being strongly pushed in that direction. It’s obvious that a trade is on his mind and a trade is what he wants. But when you’re Christian Ponder you don’t really have any leverage to make a trade happen, you just have to wait and see what materializes.
Would a trade be best for the Vikings right now? Depends on what they could get. I’m not sure Ponder would get you very much mid-season, maybe a mid-round pick if you’re lucky. After the season, with one year left on his contract, perhaps a QB-needy team would be willing to cough up a little more. Or maybe Ponder’s value will actually be less after the season. Rick Spielman will have to gauge that and make the right move.
For now, Ponder squirms on the bench behind Josh Freeman. And Rick Spielman crosses his fingers and hopes Freeman picks up the offense quickly and leads the Vikings to some victories, not so much to save the season, but to vindicate Spielman’s own faith in Freeman. Spielman is officially tossing away the guy he drafted #12 overall in favor of a half-year experiment. He really really wants this to work out.