Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Ponder is NFL.com’s Top Trade Candidate


NFL.com released a list of the top ten trade candidates for over the summer, and a Minnesota Viking showed up at first on the list.

Christian Ponder was listed as the top candidate to be traded this offseason, even though he will still be getting some first team reps at OTAs.

Ponder, the 12th overall pick in 2011, clearly is no longer part of the team’s future plans after the Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater 32nd overall in the 2014 Draft. The Vikings already declined the fifth year option on Ponder’s contract earlier this offseason, meaning they have no commitment to him beyond the 2014 season.

If that’s the case, it does seem odd that the Vikings would almost throw away first team reps with Ponder if they truly have no interest in letting him see the field anytime in 2014. The Vikings do want to project the image that competition is open at every spot on the roster, but I doubt anyone in Winter Park really believes Ponder has a shot at the job.

The Vikings could free up a decent amount of salary cap room if they could swing a trade for Ponder, as his fully guaranteed rookie contract, including signing bonus, is currently worth about $3.2 million total for this season, all of which would be dead money if he were to be cut, according to Spotrac.

As NFL.com points out, Ponder could still be worth that money to another franchise in need of a younger backup, especially since Ponder still has some potential upside left in him. It just seems unlikely at this point that he will achieve that upside with the team that drafted him.

Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) warms up passing before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Potential trade partners the website listed included the Saints, Packers, Panthers and Falcons. While the Packers re-signed Matt Flynn earlier this offseason, the other three teams could all use a younger backup.

The Panthers currently have 30 year old Derek Anderson as their backup to Cam Newton, but Anderson doesn’t have the mobility Newton and Ponder do. The Panthers wouldn’t have to throw out the movement based parts of their playbook if Ponder were ever to step in for an unavailable Newton.

The Saints backup is 32 year old Luke McCown (brother of the Buccaneers’ Josh McCown), which should not be a comforting thought for Saints fans. At the very least, Ponder could give the team a younger backup to mold behind Drew Brees in the case of an emergency.

The Falcons are another team with scary depth behind their franchise quarterback. Right now Dominique Davis, an undrafted free agent in 2012, is the man behind Matt Ryan. Ponder offers some of the same pluses as Davis, such as mobility, but with more NFL experience and a higher pedigree.

Of course, the key to any Ponder trade would be what the Vikings would get in return. Teams know the Vikings aren’t committed to Ponder, and they may hesitate to give up a draft pick for a guy they could pick up cheaply in free agency next year.

But with many starting quarterbacks going down last season, teams can also never be too careful about their backup situation. If Blaine Gabbert can fetch a sixth round pick for Jacksonville, the Vikings should hopefully be able to work out a similar deal for Ponder.

Keep in mind that the Jaguars likely predicted the pick they received would be at the bottom of the sixth round, so it may be unrealistic for the Vikings to ask for a sixth from a team like the Falcons, who may be closer to the top of the draft again. But getting a sixth or a seventh for a guy you don’t want anymore, while clearing up more salary cap space for possible extensions, seems like a smart idea for the Vikings.

What do you think Vikings fans? Would you take a late round pick for Ponder right now? Or do you think the depth he provides is too valuable to give up? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @Goatman102!

Tags: Christian Ponder Minnesota Vikings

  • yortzme

    Take the pick

  • johnnybanky

    Yeah you gotta get something out of it. Plus one sixth round pick from this year draft turned into 3 picks thanks to Speilman and one of those picks was used on Exum who 2 years ago was the #1 CB on Vtech..even better than Kyle Fuller who went in the 1st round.

  • robb

    I the 9r’s would take Chris Cook, then someone will surely take Ponder.

  • cherrie 10

    Keep him…let the new staff work with him.

    • Cool Jack

      Agree….Still better than the small (GLOVED) handed rookie…

    • Bill Simpson

      Ponder will be at least a good back-up QB for the Vikings if they want to keep three in the roster. I look for Vikings improvement beginning this year with the new coaching staff.

  • Thebaskett

    There is no place in the original article that says Ponder is the top candidate. Its just a list of 10 and Ponder happens to be the 1st listed, this is not a rankings 1-10 its a list of 10 so to say he is top candidate is not what the article is saying.. you could say A top candidate but not THE top candidate

  • Gordon Guffey

    The reason for the project competition is because there is a open competition at every spot on the roster ~ The reason they didn’t pick up Ponders last year(((5th))) is because this is a prove it year for him ~ fans keep putting the cart before the wagon and have written him off or giving him no chance at all ~ Spielman doesn’t care who the starting QB is as long as they are playing winning football ~ Be it Bridgewater~Cassel or even Ponder ~

    I’m pulling for Teddy to take the job and run with it ~ But there is no way to know who the best of the 3 QB’s will be until preseason is over ~ The best thing that could happen for the Vikings is for all of the QB’s to play outstanding so one of them (((Cassel or Ponder))) can bring a 4th to 7th round pick in 2015 ~

    But in the end we dont know anything about who is going to be the best QB will be on opening day ~ Hopefully its Teddy ~ But we just dont know ~ And thats a fact ~ Word is they have all looked good so far ~

  • Da Vikings

    Trade him we declined his 5th year because he’s not worth it. He’s had the most chances to prove himself but failed. Giving Ponder 1st team reps is just slowing down TB5 development

  • Parody Parody

    Ask for a 4th and accept a 6th if that’s the best offer you can get. Set the price high and see if you can get anyone to bite. It would hurt more to hear that a team would have given more if we asked than to just eat his contract because no team thought our offer was worth considering.

  • Andrew Kellogg

    Having Ponder on the team is just depressing if you have truly been a Vikings fan over the last couple of years (I have been one since ’98)…If he is anything less than holding a clipboard on the Vikings there will be hell to pay. Still though he needs to be off the roster period.

  • Cool Jack

    Old song…Fool if you think its over…New coaching staff has the brains and skills to make this guy a good QB…Bridgewater, with his small hands and small frame and average arm…will not make it in the cold…Ponder is still better than the rookie now and in the future….You will see…Ponder would still be starter if the defense of last year could have held some leads…