Signs of Christian Ponder's confidence made a welcomed return for the Minnesota Vikings, in the pocket during a win and at the podium for his postgame interview.
The keys to success for the second-year quarterback are minimizing sacks and turnovers and spreading around the ball to a variety of receivers. If Ponder is cracking self-deprecating jokes and firing off other one-liners -- like quick, sharp passes under pressure -- at his news conference afterward, that's usually further evidence that Ponder helped fuel a Vikings win.
''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 entering its bye week.
He's in a relationship with ESPN college sports reporter Samantha Steele, a romantic link revealed about a month ago. Since Ponder's performance crash over the previous three games started around the time his dating life was publicized, some frustrated fans blamed him for being di...