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Early in the third quarter of this past Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, it would have been easy for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to go into a bit of a funk. After going nearly 150 pass attempts without throwing an interception to start the season, the second-year signal caller had thrown picks on back-to-back pass attempts. His final pass attempt of the first half bounced off the hands of Kyle Rudolph was deflected and fell into the hands of a Tennessee defender, and his first attempt of the second half was picked off when he tried to force a ball to Jerome Simpson.
But, if the interceptions affected Ponder's confidence, he certainly had a funny way of showing it.
After Ponder's second interception, Minnesota got the ball back from the Titans with 11:31 remaining in the third quarter of play. From that point until he was lifted from the game for Minnesota, Ponder was brilliant. He completed 11 of his 12 pass attempts for an even 100 yards, leading three consecutive scoring drives (one that ended in a third Blair Walsh field goal, followed by two straight drives that ended in touchdown passes) and putting the game out of reach.
Despite Ponder's "bad" performance on Sunday. . .and it's nice to be getting to the point where 25-of-35 for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions can be considered a "disappointing" performance. . .he's still second in the NFL in completion percentage, and his quarterback rating puts him in the league's top 10 quarterbacks. But the way he bounced back from the mistakes he made on Sunday afternoon against the Titans shows yet another big step in the maturation of Christian Ponder as an NFL quarterback.
There has been plenty to celebrate about the fast start that the 2012 Minnesota Vikings have gotten off to through the first five games of the season. But the development of Christian Ponder has to top the list, and is certainly the most important development for the long-term future of the Minnesota Vikings.