We've given you a 'what's going on right now' with the Vikings quarterback, Fearless Leader gave you the funniest synopsis you'll ever read of what got us to the absolute disaster we're currently sitting in...but where does the team go from here? How does this get fixed? Can it be fixed?
When the Vikings decided that Christian Ponder wasn't there guy after the week three loss to Cleveland (well, IF they decided that. Who really knows anymore) they had a couple options available to them. They could've just kept that to themselves, sat him for a game or two, try to let him collect himself, and trot him out for another shot once Cassel became Matt Cassel.
But they didn't do that. Their actions said, in a public and very humiliating way, that Ponder was in fact NOT their guy, and they were moving on. So they committed to Matt Cassel...for all of two weeks, and then did a gear grinding, publicly painful switch to Josh Freeman, who was going to be the 'guy du jour' for the rest of the season. When he was ready, the Vikings said, he was going to play. That timetable got moved up after Cassel and the other 52 members of the Minnesota Vikings laid a collective egg against Carolina...and we all know what happened Monday.
Does Ponder give the Vikings the best chance to win? Yes. Is he a better option than Matt Cassel? Yes. Did the offense score more points with Ponder than with Cassel? Yes.
But when the Vikings announced that Freeman had a concussion and that Ponder was starting, it was the worst thing that the Vikings could do.
Let me 'splain.
three weeks ago, it seemed that Ponder's time in Minnesota was coming to an end. When Freeman was signed, it was a clear indication that the Vikings were going to give him a 10 game tryout, and re-evaluate, and Ponder was not part of that evaluation. Had they started Cassel, no one would've batted an eye. He's the backup, and he's going to start if the regular guy can't go.
But by putting Ponder back in, the Vikings have created, potentially, a nightmare scenario for themselves, and there is no easy way out. Well, there is one way out where there is no additional damage done, and that's if Christian Ponder doesn't play well. But let me throw this out there...what if he does?
Maybe, and granted this is admittedly a long shot, but maybe all Ponder needed was a couple weeks on the bench to light a fire underneath him. He's never really had any competition for the job, and what if this was the spark that lit the fire underneath him?
Ponder says he plans on being more vocal to take hold of the position "because I don't plan on giving it back."— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) October 23, 2013
Ponder says he'll be more relaxed. "What's the worst that can happen? I've already been benched," he said.— Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) October 23, 2013
Just hear me out on this...
Leslie Frazier is coaching for his job, and if Ponder plays well and the Vikings manage to win on Sunday, there is no way he can justify going back to Freeman, not after that performance against the Giants. He has an obligation to his team and to the fans to put out the best team possible, and with his job more than likely on the line, he's going to play his hot hand.
And every week Ponder plays is a week Josh Freeman doesn't, and now you've got a $3 million clipboard holder. A guy, mind you, the Vikings told was 'the guy'. 'Just come to Minnesota, we'll fix you, and we'll make you our long term answer', they said.. Well, you'll at least give you a two month audition. And keep in mind this was a guy that had regressed since his fantastic 2010 season, to the point he had a 45% completion rate in Tampa, and that horrid 53 attempt performance Monday.
So if he does play well, do they pull him to try out Freeman? It can't be justified if they do. The goal was to get a good quarterback, and if, in all this madness, you get that end result with Ponder, you've accomplished your goal.
And that's the best case scenario in all this..and it's one that will make half the fan base mad, because no matter what, they're not going to like Christian Ponder as the answer.
What's probably going to happen is Ponder will play a game or two, and he'll play like he always does--not great, but inconsistent. Then they'll throw Freeman back in, and he'll be Freeman.
And come the end of the season, we'll have no idea what the future of the quarterback position holds for this team.