Christian Ponder. His name has elicited a very emotional response from many of us here at the Daily Norseman. His career in Purple and Gold has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, with more lows in the recent past. With the re-signing of Matt Cassel and the drafting of Teddy Bridgewater in the 1st round of the 2014 draft, many feel that Ponder is arguably the #3 quarterback on the depth chart and some even feel he should be traded. The Vikings opted not to pick up his 5th year option, so barring some miracle the 2014 season would likely be his last with the Vikings anyway.
So this all begs the question are there any believers left out there in Vikings fandom? Does anyone feel that Ponder somehow wasn't given a fair shake here in Minnesota? Does he have any untapped potential still left, just waiting for a QB guru like Norv! Turner to unlock? Well, with OTAs getting underway today, there is one Viking beat writer that is still holding out hope: the legendary Sid Hartmann. In a recent Star Tribune article, Hartmann puts his cards on the table: he's still a believer in Ponder. Sid did an interview with Ponder recently, and regardless of what fans and many other media analysts think, Ponder is still a believer in himself too:
"The expectation is that he’s [Cassel] going to be a starter, but for me, I’m competing for the job, and that’s what’s going on in my mind is the competition," Ponder said. "I think about how we talked about it before, that this is a clean slate for all of us. I don’t think the coaches have made a decision on what’s going on yet, but hopefully the best guy gets to play. It was disappointing how the year  went, but honestly when I left, it was more motivation than anything," Ponder said. "I really worked hard this offseason, more than I have in the past. I didn’t want it to happen again. I knew there was going to be a competition to play and I tried to do my best to prepare."
This sounds like a player that is hungry to compete and knows that he's likely on his last chance in Minnesota. Hartmann expressed faith in Ponder writing:
Most media members and Vikings fans are of the opinion that Matt Cassel has the position locked up, and some are confident Ponder, the former first-round draft choice from Florida State, won’t be a member of the team when the Vikings report to Mankato for training camp in late July.
I happened to disagree. I believe there is a chance Ponder will do a lot better this year under Norv Turner’s new offensive system.
And it would appear that Ponder himself is hopeful for the very same reason:
"Turnovers were the biggest thing, that cost us quite a few games," he said. "Just some dumb decisions and that has been kind of the past three years. It’s something I have to fix, and hopefully learning things from Norv is going to help me. He talks a lot about ball security, so not turning the ball over," Ponder said. "His offense is all about timing and rhythm and getting the ball out, so you know if it’s one hitch and the guy’s not open, move on. I like that, being able to make those pre-snap reads and get the ball out as quick as possible. It really limits you on your reads, the guys you have to go to, and that will help you make decisions quicker."
So what say you Vikings faithful? Is Sid Hartmann finally off his rocker crazy here, or are they both on to something? Does Ponder actually have a real chance to compete for the starting job? Would Norv! Turner's system actually benefit Christian Ponder and squeeze the last of his potential out? Or have we seen all there is to see with Ponder? Maybe he is what he is, and he's reached his ceiling...are there any
beliebers believers still out there? Should I ask anymore questions? Is this article finished now?