Just between you and me, I would rather see Donovan McNabb take these shots all year than Christian Ponder. (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
As Ted stated in his article just below this one, we got into a bit of a disagreement after today's game about which direction the Vikings should go at the quarterback position. Not an angry disagreement, mind you, largely because. . .well, between the Gophers' game on Saturday and the Vikings' game yesterday, we're simply too freaking depressed to be angry. But we do have different ideas as to which way the Vikings should go given the epic. . .whatever you'd classify this as that we've seen over the past three weeks.
Ted thinks that we should put Christian Ponder in at quarterback and just roll with him for the rest of the season. . .and don't get me wrong, I'm as anxious to see what #7 has as anybody else. I can understand why people want to see Donovan McNabb grabbing a spot on the bench and putting Ponder (or even Joe Webb) behind center for what is quickly becoming a lost season.
I'm here to say that I disagree. Here's why.Donovan McNabb is not going to be the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. I know this, you know this. . .hell, even Donovan McNabb knows this. He's here on a one-year deal, and he's simply keeping the seat warm for Christian Ponder. At some point, McNabb has to say to himself, "Hey, if I want to play past this season, I'd better start performing a hell of a lot better than I am right now." At which point he'll either step up his game or wind up getting a forced retirement from the National Football League.
It also stands to reason that this team is not without talent, even on offense. This team has the best running back in the National Football League in Adrian Peterson, a dynamic playmaker in Percy Harvin, a pretty good backup in Toby Gerhart, a really underrated possession option in Michael Jenkins, and a pretty darn good group of tight ends. If the Vikings can solidify their offensive line, they can be a very good offense for 2012 and beyond.
Which is why I don't want to see Ponder spending this season getting his ass handed to him and losing a ton of games as Minnesota's starting quarterback in 2011.
In the Air Force, and I'm sure in other walks of life as well, we often talk about "setting people up for success." Putting Ponder in at quarterback for the Vikings this season, in my opinion, would have a greater potential of setting him up for failure than for success. Sure, there are rookie quarterbacks that come in and play well right away, and there's a chance that Ponder can be one of those guys. There's also a chance that if we put him back there behind this offensive line, he's going to turn into David Carr v2.0, and simply be too shell shocked to reach his full potential at the National Football League level.
Like I said, I like Christian Ponder a lot, and think that he's going to be the best quarterback that the Vikings have "home grown" since that Tarkenton fellow. Had he gotten an entire off-season like he normally would have had the lockout not happened and been able to get the amount of attention prior to Training Camp that he should have, I would probably feel differently about throwing him to the wolves as our starting quarterback. But, quite frankly, if somebody is going to spend the 2011 season getting their asses handed to them while the Vikings end up having a below-average season anyway. . .quite frankly, I would rather it be Donovan McNabb.
Let Ponder spend this whole season learning on the sideline, spend your first couple of picks in the 2012 NFL Draft on a real franchise left tackle (and by "franchise," I mean "won't show up to Training Camp weighing 600 pounds") and a deep threat that's actually a threat (since next season we won't have to put up with Bernard Berrian any longer, either), and then plug Ponder into the offense when there are more pieces in place.
That's my take on it, anyway.