Not since the 2009 NFC Championship game (puke) have my eyes been so glued to the television for a Vikings game as they were during the 4th quarter this past Sunday night.
It really is incredible how much you're willing to set aside when you've been waiting in such anticipation for a guy like Christian Ponder to finally get his shot. We were down four scores under the lights on the road, a loss to the Bears all but seals up an expected last place finish in the NFC North, and Devin Hester was making our defense and special teams look like skirt-wearing pansies.
But I set all of that aside. It's sort of that "rock bottom" feeling. I mean, don't get me wrong, we're no Colts or Dolphins here; but my feelings as I saw Ponder put on his helmet and begin to warm up were something I haven't felt in a long time. I started to look at Ponder and see into the future, something that has been really hard to do with Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks in recent years.
You never looked at Brett Favre, Brad Johnson, or Gus Frerotte and thought, there he is, the future of our franchise. It has always been an old guy taking snaps under center, and when it wasn't, it was someone like Tarvaris Jackson; a guy who we jerked around enough to know there was no way he would stay in Minnesota. With Ponder Sunday night, I saw the future; it was a sense of new beginning, promise, angst and youth, and I absolutely loved it.
And when he finally took those snaps--17 of them in one quarter--I was sold; not that there was ever any doubt to begin with. I high fived my brother sitting next to me more times in that quarter alone (not to mention being down 29 points) than I had all season up to that point. Did anyone see a little bit of Drew Brees in Ponder's style? I love how as the pocket (inevitably) collapses around him, he has the awareness to step up and release the ball quick. What a novel concept! I think he's going to be very hard to sack, very hard to track down in the open field, and very accurate, which is essentially the polar opposite from what we had seen from Donovan McNabb through 5.75 games.
So more or less, this is a love letter with a hint of on-field analysis that I hope appeals to a few other Norseman on this site. Thoughts on Ponder, the future of the organization, his style of play, and any likes or dislikes with what you saw would be much appreciated. I know I'm a little late to the Christian Ponder FanPost party, but there is so much to say and very few people here in Des Moines, Iowa, to say it to.