Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has taken a lot of slings and arrows over his first two years in the National Football League. . .some justifiable, some not so much. But nobody is questioning that the onus is on the third-year man from Florida State to take a big step forward in his development this year if the team wants to continue on an upward trajectory.
If the comments of Ponder's newest weapon in the passing game are to be believed, there's a very good chance that step is coming. When asked about Ponder, receiver Greg Jennings had this to say to Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN.
"I love him," Jennings said. "I love his personality, I love his demeanor on the field. The one thing we talk about, and I've shared with him more than anything, is the trust factor because he has everything he needs. The skill set, he has it. It's just about trusting the other guy.
"Whether that other guy is Kyle (Rudolph), myself, (Jerome Simpson), across the board. It's just about trusting we're going to be where he's knowing that we should be and us trusting that he's going to have the ball where we know it should be. So, that's the one thing that kind of takes that split second off of our timing. Other than that, once we develop that trust and that comfort, the sky is the limit. ... But Christian, he's going to be great. I'm excited. He's going to shock people."
Now, much like everything that's been said about Ponder over the past five or six months, this will be taken different ways. The people who believe that Ponder still has some developing to do and is capable of taking that step forward will be encouraged by Jennings' comments. Those that are not convinced will dismiss it as being pre-season hot air being blown by a guy that has a marked interest in Ponder getting better. Personally, I fall into that first category, but your mileage may vary.
Only five weeks until Training Camp starts, ladies and gentlemen. Then we'll find out one way or another.