The Vikings drafted Christian Ponder 12th overall in 2011 with the hope that he could develop into a franchise quarterback.
Now after three seasons the Vikings appear ready to give up on Ponder and move to the next phase. Ian Rapoport has heard from sources that the Vikes will try to trade Ponder this offseason in exchange for a late-round pick.
But it’s not necessarily over for Ponder in Minnesota. Rapoport says the Vikings’ next coach – who could be Bill O’Brien – will have final say in whether Ponder stays or goes.
Ponder has one year remaining on his rookie contract.
It’s been a tumultuous 2013 for Ponder. He came into the season with high hopes after leading the Vikings on a playoff run late in the 2012 campaign. But injuries and ineffectiveness landed Ponder on the shelf after a winless start.
The Ponder era looked to be coming to a premature end when the Vikings acquired Josh Freeman, but Freeman proved inept in one start and Ponder soon found himself back in the picture. Ponder played okay for a few weeks before once again losing his job to injury.
Matt Cassel stepped in for Ponder, and played so impressively that the Vikings had no choice but to leave him in even after Ponder was ready to return from his concussion.
Cassel will be the starter the remainder of the season with Ponder as the #2. One might ask why the Vikings don’t play Ponder the last few weeks in hopes he will pump up his trade value.
Whatever the Vikings decide to do with Ponder, keep him or trade him, it seems almost certain a young QB will be brought in via the draft to at least compete for the starting job. Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr are the three college QBs most lusted-after by Viking fans.
Matt Cassel could also be in the picture for 2014, if both sides agree to pick up their mutual option. Josh Freeman does not appear to be an option for next year.