Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has put together his projections for a 2011 All-Rookie team for the National Football League, and surprisingly he has not one, but two Vikings. Maybe "surprisingly" is the wrong word. . .one of the two is a surprise, but the other one shouldn't be.
The one that isn't terribly surprising is quarterback Christian Ponder, who Bunting apparently thinks is going to be the starter for the Vikings right out of the gate.
He’s as NFL-ready as any quarterback in the class, has a nice run game in place in Minnesota and his lack of elite arm strength should be masked a little playing in the dome.
I still don't get why people are questioning Ponder's arm strength. From everything I've seen of him, he doesn't have any problem with it.
His other All-Rookie projection from the Vikings? Tight end Kyle Rudolph.
I fully expect Rudolph to mature into one of the league’s better tight ends by year three. But, in year one, look for him to be Ponder’s safety blanket underneath.
Now, this isn't surprising because of Rudolph's talent, because he's incredibly talented. . .you don't get to be the #1 guy at your position in the draft without talent. However, the Vikings already have a very well-established receiving threat at tight end in Visanthe Shiancoe, and from the sounds of what Bunting is saying, he expects Rudolph to be Ponder's go-to guy right away.
But he's right about Rudolph's talent. . .if he can avoid the injury bug, in a year or two we'll probably be talking about Rudolph the same way that guys like Jason Witten and Dallas Clark are talked about now. He has that sort of ability.