Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/5/12
Christian Ponder was the twelfth pick of the first-round by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL draft. He was drafted out of Florida State University. With the Seminoles he had a very injury plagued, yet excellent career. Ponder has only one season in the NFL with a stat line of 158 of 251 (54.3%), 1,853 yards, 13 TD, 13 INT, 5 FUM and a 70.1 quarterback rating.

Sure Ponder has a ton of potential, but does he have what it takes to lead this Minnesota Vikings team to success in the near future?

The Minnesota Vikings are a team with scattered, but very few weapons. They do have a few power positions though and those include a running back in Adrian Peterson, and kick returner/wide receiver in Percy Harvin on the offensive end. Losing guard Steve Hutchinson to the Tennessee Titans is a huge blow to that offensive line, as he is one of the best in the league. On the defensive side of the ball Minnesota has weapons such as defensive tackle Kevin Williams, linebacker Chad Greenway, and league leader in sacks for the 2011 season, Jared Allen.

Adrian Peterson, the leader of the Minnesota Vikings is one of the best running backs in the league and also one of the very few weapons for Minnesota. The only dilemma with this is that Peterson is coming off a gruesome knee injury that he suffered on December 24th, week 16 of the regular season against the Washington Redskins. Not only did he tear his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but his medial collateral ligament (MCL) as well.

He also suffered damage to his meniscus in the same knee. Many feared for his return in the upcoming season but Adrian Peterson is a whole different breed and it looks as if he will be ready for the start of the 2012 NFL season. Peterson is an intricate part of this offense and has set a few records already with Minnesota such as most career rushing touchdowns (64), and most rushing yards in a single season (1,760).

Defensive end Jared Allen is another one of  the very few assets in Minnesota. Allen was named to the National Football League's first team all pro and Pro Bowl for the years of 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. His "calf-roping" celebration was used more than ever in 2011 as he had arguably the best year of his career racking up 22 sacks and leading the league in that category.

Percy Harvin is a valuable player for Minnesota at different positions such as wide receiver, kick returner, and even running back but Harvin has his issues as well. Harvin was selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year in 2009, when he was also awarded with the Rookie of the Year. He holds the Minnesota Vikings single season yards record for most combined with 2,081. Harvin's problems though, begin with severe migraines, which for a football player is a terrible injury.

He has missed games here and there due to the injury and it could be a problem in the future. Harvin also just recently requested a trade from Minnesota, but drew very little attention as he returned to the practice field within a week. Nobody was sure if this was a contractual problem, or a problem with personnel but he says that he was "clueless" of these reports. There are no reports of any kind of him holding out so expect Harvin to be ready for the regular season.

Then there is arguably the most important position on the field and that is at the quarterback position in which Christian Ponder currently holds the starting job in Minnesota. The quarterback position is a position that has been filled by various different players throughout the years in Minnesota. Minnesota has their fair share of playoff appearances, and also quarterbacks. From Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, to Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Dante Culpepper, Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Donovan McNabb, and now Christian Ponder.

Last season marked the first season in the NFL for Ponder. He made his debut in week seven against the Green Bay Packers when Donovan McNabb was benched. Ponder showed a ton of potential in that first game, almost leading Minnesota to a victory but just falling short in a 33-27 ballgame. He showed that potential but is it enough potential to lead this team to the playoffs? 13 TD along with 13 INT were thrown in this most recent season, but many were left pondering about what he can accomplish after seeing his poor quarterback rating of just 70.1, finishing thirty-first in the NFL.

Ponder can still play well and not make the playoffs in the tough NFC North division, arguably one of the best divisions in football. Having to play the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears twice a year already makes their schedule tough. Having the eight hardest schedule according to strength of schedule for 2012 doesn't make things easier either. The Green Bay Packers are coming off a 15-1 regular season, and a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

The Detroit Lions are a team on the rise with young stars such as quarterback Matt Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and defensive end Ndamukong Suh. The Chicago Bears are another team Minnesota needs to worry about with additions this off season such as running back Michael Bush (previously with the Oakland Raiders), and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (previously with the Miami Dolphins).

It looks like Christian Ponder has a bright future, but it doesn't seem the same for the Minnesota Vikings, as they look like they may be heading downhill. We can only sit and watch for now, as the 23-year-old Ponder takes the starting role in just his second NFL season in 2012.


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