Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Can the Vikings please do something about the QB?

   I'm going to do something a little bit different on this blog and talk NFL football. I am a Vikings fan, but do they have a QB problem right now! This last game against Green Bay was awful. I, like other Vikings fans, want things to change in this week's Monday Morning Mailbag. (I'm highlighting disappointing parts of the response.)
How long will the Vikings give Christian Ponder to show improvement? The end of this season, or next season?  If anything, he has regressed as this season has gone on, and I don't see how long they can hang on to that position being a weak link. A better receiver would help, but Ponder has to shoulder some of the blame here.
-- Brian
Sturgis, SD

There’s no way around the fact that the Vikings need better play from the quarterback position. No one, from Head Coach Leslie Frazier to Ponder himself, will hide from that fact. Criticism of and impatience for Ponder is increasing among the fan base, but the team’s long-term outlook on Ponder remains the same. I’ve written many times in the Monday Morning Mailbag this year that we have to live with the mistakes Ponder is making because he’s the hand-selected franchise quarterback. Granted, seeing the same mistakes time and again causes the frustration to intensify and the impatience to grow. But I’m willing to be patient with Ponder and give him more time to get it right. I also still contend that the Vikings can play better around Ponder, specifically at the receiver position.

Uggg...can we fire the people who "hand-selected" Ponder? I agree that Minnesota does not have the best of receivers, especially right now with Harvin injured, but Ponder missed some of his throws when the receivers were there (granted, a couple of the main examples were throws toward running backs that were on wheel routes down the sideline — not technically wide receivers, but a bad miss is a bad miss regardless of the position of the target).
I'm not saying Joe Webb is the answer, but Ponder just isn't giving the Vikings a chance to win. So why not try something new? The Jets finally broke down and benched their starter. Why not the Vikings, too?
-- Mike H.
Austin, MN

Obviously, the aftermath of the Vikings loss to Green Bay is going to feature almost exclusively criticism of Ponder. It’s understandable, but it’s also unfortunate because Adrian Peterson dazzled us all once again by rushing for 201 yards. Regardless, the main talker coming out of this week for Vikings fans will be Ponder. And I think there are two parts to the discussion.

The first is the global, long-term outlook on Ponder, which was just discussed in the previous question. The team is developing Ponder and I think they should stick to the plan and keep building this offense around him. The second is the short-term look at the situation. I’m not on the side that says Ponder will never be a good quarterback for the Vikings. But I can hear the argument that perhaps Webb could’ve entered the game on Sunday and given the Vikings a chance to win the game.

Unfortunate? Yeah, Peterson dazzled, but the Vikings lost. What is unfortunate is that Peterson did so well just so the QB could come in and screw everything up. Otherwise, on this whole issue around Ponder, I have been finding myself deeply confused these past few years since they drafted Ponder. I have not seen reason to believe that Joe Webb is an awful QB, though maybe the coaches see things in practice that I don't. That's not to say I think he'd ever be a good QB, but perhaps he could be mediocre. So what do the Vikings do? They go draft a new QB that looks to just be mediocre. (Again, maybe they were seeing something in Ponder at the time that I wasn't...obviously it is there job to analyze tapes and it is not mine.) Now after almost two seasons, Ponder is looking to be that mediocre QB. And now we are supposed to "stick to the plan." This does not please me. That's not to say that this is the wrong course of action. I think the wrong course of action was taken nearly three years ago when Ponder was drafted. Now the course is to make the best of that mistake, which may unfortunately be "stick to the plan." The plan could just as well have been build a team around Webb, and — most importantly — they then could have used that draft pick where they got Ponder to do just that. I guess I'll just never understand football culture and why such emphasis and importance is put on having a sole starting QB.

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