Christian Ponder is in the middle of his second season, and all the ups and downs one can handle. The product of Florida State University showed flashes in his rookie year, but in his second, he’s made the leap to leader of the offense.
The Vikings are in the hunt for a playoff spot. However, they won’t get there without Ponder raising his level of play. After a very good start, Ponder hit a rough streak that saw quarterback ratings of 47.1, 54.3, and 50.0 in his previous three performances before getting a solid 75.0 vs. the Detroit Lions.
Of course, when Adrian Peterson lining up behind him, all he has to do is not make mistakes.
"I want to thank my girlfriend, because she obviously has such a big impact on how I play,'' Ponder said after Minnesota beat Detroit 34-24 to move to 6-4 during their bye week. Ponder is dating Samantha Steele of ESPN, and there were questions Ponder was distracted by the hot television personality (we think there was some sarcasm there).
But it’s the confidence that he’s instilled in his teammates that is most important. They feel they can win with him.
"Ponder had a good day,'' linebacker Chad Greenway said.” You really don't want to lose focus of that. He made some really nice conversions on third down and threw some tough balls, so I'm proud of the way he stepped up after some tough weeks.''
"That's the No. 7 that we knew we had in our locker room and we've seen since we started in April,'' Tight End Kyle Rudolph stated.” Christian just came out and let his talent take over. He just came out and threw it.''
"The way he practiced throughout the week, he was really on fire,'' Coach Leslie Frazier said.