Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/4/12
Christian Ponder's development as an NFL quarterback hasn't moved along as quickly as Minnesota Vikings fans would like, but it appears as though he's progressing nicely in the romance department. Roughly six weeks after Ponder confirmed he had been dating ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steele for a couple of months, Steele on Tuesday told Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch that the pair is engaged. "Spoke to ESPN's @Samantha_Steele today. She confirms she is engaged to @VikingsFootball quarterback Christian Ponder," Deitsch tweeted. Ponder, in his second season with the Vikings after becoming the No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, hasn't shied from talking about the high-profile pairing since it became public. "I'm proud of the relationship," he said the first time reporters asked him about it. "I have bragging rights." After the Vikings beat the Detroit Lions on Nov. 11, Ponder shrugged off criticism from fans that his new relationship might be the reason for his flagging play. "I want to thank my girlfriend," he joked after completing 24 of 32 passes in a 34-24 win, "because obviously she has a big impact on how I play." Of course, Ponder has had two wretched games since, completing only 34 of 68 passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions in back-to-back losses that have dropped the team to 6-6 and on the edge of the playoff race.
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