After this year, a lot of people believed that Christian Ponder has seen his last meaningful snap as a Minnesota Viking. Instead, newly hired offensive coordinator Norv Turner feels that there might be something to Ponder that he wants to take a look at.
“The hard thing in this league is you can be playing good and doing a lot of good things and at that position, if you have a negative play or a sack, fumble or interception, a play like that at the wrong time, it takes away all of the good things you’ve done,” Turner said. “I’ve been impressed with Christian and the things he does in terms of his movement. He moves extremely well on the run. He’s made a lot of big plays. The starting point with any quarterback to me is eliminating those [bad] plays. That would be one of our starting points.”
If you ask fans, more than likely they will say that Ponder isn’t a good enough quarterback to be the starting quarterback in Minnesota and that they need to seek out a “franchise quarterback” in this year’s draft. Ponder has had several chances to show he can be “the man” in Minnesota, but has disappointed. However, Turner isn’t sure that an elite quarterback is necessary to have a successful team in the NFL.
“The guys I have been around that are so-called franchise quarterbacks, weren’t considered franchise quarterbacks until they started winning,” Turner said. “You have to get a guy in that everyone believes in and you start out and put good people around him and find out how far you can go. But you know I was with Brad Johnson in Washington and we went to the playoffs, won the division, and people were convinced he couldn’t win a Super Bowl and we let him go to Tampa and the next year he won the Super Bowl. So I think you get a really good player and you give him a really good team and you find out how far you can go.”
This may just be a smokescreen for the upcoming draft, but for now Ponder is the only quarterback that Turner has to work with on the Vikings roster. Turner was asked about the likelihood of Minnesota using one of their top picks on a signal caller this year and was not willing to divulge that kind of information.
“I don’t have the answer for questions like that,” Turner said. “I’m sure Rick and Mike have been talking about it a lot. One thing that has been proven, and all you have to do is go back to Sunday’s game, is quarterbacks come from lots of different spots. A third-rounder wins the Super Bowl and there’s some pretty good players that weren’t drafted high. I think everyone is in agreement that we’re trying to add a young quarterback to this organization. You just have to make sure it’s a good one wherever you get him.”
Turner doesn’t believe that a top draft pick is necessary to get a great quarterback, but he does feel that they need time to develop and learn at the position. Lucky for these players, Turner is an excellent guy to have around to help a young quarterback out.
“No question, it’s a tough position and there’s some guys that get put in a unique situation and have success right away,” he said. “There’s not a lot of them. Most guys it’s a process and there’s some struggles along the way to becoming the player they want to become.”
So, it sounds like Norv Turner wants to see what he can get out of Ponder. He sees some positive things in him, but also wants to bring in a young guy in the draft or free agency to compete with him. This offseason and preseason will be huge in finding out who the quarterback will be next year.