His relatively disastrous last season in Minnesota not withstanding, Brad Johnson was a pretty good quarterback for a long time in the NFL. A ninth-round pick of the Vikings in 1992 despite never having started a game at Florida State, he played for the Vikings until 1998. He was then traded to the Washington Redskins, went to Tampa Bay (where he won a Super Bowl), and came back to the Vikings for a couple of seasons before ending his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
With that kind of pedigree, one would think that he knows a little something about what it takes to be a good quarterback. . .and he seems to really like his fellow Seminole, Vikings rookie Christian Ponder.
"When I played for the Cowboys, I went and saw my kids," Johnson said. "They played football at the same high school that [Ponder] went to in Colleyeville and just everything that you heard about him was good. He's a tremendously hard worker, graduated in 2 1/2 years, playing for Jimbo Fisher, he's tough on quarterbacks."
Johnson said there was a lot more demanded of Ponder than of most college quarterbacks.
"[Fisher's] the head coach now. He was the [offensive] coordinator when Christian got there," Johnson said. "He demands a lot from quarterbacks and makes them learn the game. Obviously, Christian is a quick study and hard worker and led those guys to a lot of wins down there. The program went through a lot of change when he first got there, so he fought through some tough times. Hopefully he has a great career. He did a lot of good things for Florida State, really kind of stabilized the program. The program went through difficult times when he got there, and he kind of led them back to a winning tradition down there."
Ponder was called the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2011 class, and for good reason. With the similarities between the offense he ran at Florida State and the offense he'll be running in Minnesota, it shouldn't take too long for him to get up to speed. Then he can go about the business of making people look stupid for labeling him a reach. . .hey, it's going to happen eventually, so why not as soon as possible?