Musgrave Must Let Ponder Play


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

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.