The Minnesota Vikings have quarterback issues. Christian Ponder, in year No. 2 as the Viking starter, has regressed, and Minnesota is 8-6 only because Adrian Peterson is a tailback for the ages.
The Vikes have virtually taken the ball out of Ponder’s hands down the stretch. He’s completing 63 percent of his passes, but he’s thrown 12 interceptions to go with his 14 touchdowns. Ponder was given the job in mid-season 2011, his rookie year, and finished with 13 TDs and 13 interceptions, while completing 54 percent of his passes. The Vikes had hoped that Ponder would progress, but that hasn’t happened.
Call it the Samantha Steele curse. The ESPN reporter is engaged to Ponder. Last year, Steele worked for The Longhorn Network. This year, she’s hooked up with Ponder. Steele seems to attract bad quarterbacking. But I digress.
Will the Vikes bail on the Ponder experiment? NFL teams seem to have a quicker trigger for quarterbacks than in the past. Could Minnesota hands its keys to another after just 11/2 years? And if so, would the Vikes go back to the draft, or to free agency? Joe Flacco could be available. Michael Vick almost certainly will be.
If the Vikes go to the draft, could they settle on Landry Jones? Either mid-first round or mid-second round? The Vikes figure to draft somewhere around 15-22. I think Landry will zoom up draft lists the closer to April we get. That’s been the NFL trend the last couple of years, with Ponder Exhibit A. Even if Landry’s stock doesn’t improve, Minnesota could take a flier on the second round. The Vikes overshot on Ponder, who went 12th overall in the 2011 draft. Minnesota might not be willing to use a first-round pick on a quarterback two years after taking Ponder. But second round? That’s entirely possible.
This much we know. Peterson, who is taking aim at Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105, could use a quarterback. Peterson is 294 yards away from breaking the record. He’s got that many yards despite having little passing threat from his offense, but also because Minnesota has to rely on him so much.