After the 2013 Vikings did there best impression of the classic 2011 Vikings, many Vikings fans have called for Ponder's head. The criticism has ranged from general Ponder sucks to ridiculous trade scenarios involving anyone from Brian Hoyer to Tom Brady. I'm here to say that Ponder isn't necessarily the issue. Yes Ponder has been less than great as a Viking despite having the best RB in the NFL. But there are more pressing issues than the QB position. Sadly a majority of it seems to be coaching. Finding a great coach is arguably just as hard as finding a great Quarterback. There's no draft filled with hidden gems and top 10 picks with a large body of work. In order to find one you'll have to sort through the CFL, UFL, NCAA and coordinators on other NFL coaching staffs.
I think most will agree that the Vikings have a very talented roster. We've seen great play out of most of our players. We have the games best RB, two tackles that were great a season ago, a revamped receiving core that actually looks like the top 3 guys are capable of 100+ yard receiving games, not even mentioning defense and Kyle Rudolph. "Ya! Exactly! Ponder just sux, otherwise we'd win!" Not the whole truth. Now yes Ponder has had plenty of struggles and moments where he looks like Tebow's backup from the CFL, but all NFL quarterbacks have had there share of struggles. Before we look into that, lets look at the coaching staff.
Most Vikings fans are fond of Leslie Frazier the person. He was a great Defensive Coordinator for many years in purple. But since becoming head coach has not done much. In 2011 the Vikings held significant leads at halftime of several games. Yet arguably due to being out-coached, they started off 0-3. On the sidelines he provides no spark or fire to the players, and hasn't exactly hired the best coworkers. Then we have Bill Musgrave. Musgrave was praised for his creativity before being hired, but since then has had very uncreative play-calling and been very predictable. Defensive Coordinator is a harder one to figure out as he's given up many yards and first downs, but the Vikings defense has had more turnovers than we've had in years. But are turnovers the result of play-calling, or execution? Common sense would say play-calling is responsible for slowing down offenses, while getting turnovers is usually a product of a great play made by a defender. The Vikings need to find a good offensive minded coach, fire Bill Musgrave and Mike Singletary, and demote Frazier to defensive coordinator.
But why should we sit through Ponder's pathetic moments? Why not trade for Phillip Rivers? Tom Brady? Brian Hoyer? Well, trading for any of those QB's other than Hoyer would draw more than a first round pick. You could argue that Brady was worth a first round pick, but barring hell freezing over, or Matt Millen hacking into the Patriots facility, the Patriots will NOT trade Tom Brady. Phillip Rivers? Trade for an older player, in the last year of there contract, to play for an 0-3 team and give up a pretty early first round pick? Not the best plan. Give up a likely 2nd rounder, in exchange for Brian Hoyer? There is a slight chance that Hoyer is a QBOTF, but is that slight chance worth a 2nd round pick? That's assuming the Browns would make the trade. But, we can give up nothing to start Matt Cassel! Starting Matt Cassel would be giving up on a QB who still has potential in exchange for one with no potential who is only slightly better, and would certainly not elevate out current play to a playoff caliber team.
However, many insist that Ponder does not have potential and has proven repeatedly that he downright sucks. Well during half of last season he attempted to prove his doubters right. While during the other half he did the exact opposite. Currently Ponder's biggest issues that are his fault, is poor decision making and failure to go through his progressions. Are those not coach-able issues?
The worst case scenario when starting Ponder is that he sucks completely, and we have a Top 5 draft pick, whereas the best-case scenario is that he evolves into what we hoped he could become when we drafted him. If all fails, we can draft Teddy Bridgewater, sign Phillip Rivers and go all in for 2014 while still maintaining hope for the future.