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Vikings proud of poised, interception-free Ponder

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012

The Vikings raved this summer about the strides he was making, no longer prevented from practicing and studying the offense with quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave like he was last year during the lockout. There was no way to tell if this could translate to game success -- or any guarantee that it would -- until September came.

"Not surprised, just very, very pleased that we're seeing the maturation that we all hope would happen," Frazier said.

Ponder has had to be lucky to keep from being picked off a few times, when defensive players have dropped balls right to them. He also hasn't connected on any long passes. But he has done exactly what the Vikings have asked, fighting temptation to force a deep throw just to make it happen, instead patiently handing the ball to Adrian Peterson, finding Harvin and others in the middle of the field and letting the defense do the rest of the work.

"I feel like I'm definitely in the perfect spot," Ponder said.

Minnesota hosts Tennessee this Sunday. The Titans considered Ponder, too, but took Jake Locker ahead of him in that quarterback-rich draft last year. Coach Mike Munchak said the Titans were high on Ponder, even though most pre-draft projections had the Florida State product being picked a lot lower.

"We liked him a lot. I'm proud of him," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "You get to know these guys when you spend that much time with them before the draft, and he's a great kid. Smart. All the things you watch on tape, I felt good about him that he'd be able to do exactly what you're seeing. ... I think Minnesota got a great guy that will be there for a long time and someone they're going to be really happy with. I just hope it's not so much this Sunday."

Left guard Steve Hutchinson, who left the Vikings after six seasons to sign with the Titans, expressed the same sentiment.

"I don't think there was a doubt that Christian was going to be a great player for that team," Hutchinson said. "I think last year -- with the new offensive system and the lockout and the no offseason and asking a rookie to come in and grasp every aspect of the game at the quarterback position at the NFL level -- was hard to do. I knew once he settled in, he'd be good. So they're doing well."


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