Is Christian Ponder the Savior of the Vikings franchise?

Minnesota Vikings Rookie Review: Christian Ponder the Savior?

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What is great about being apart of the fansided community is collaborating  with all the dedicated team bloggers. One such blogger is Dan Zinski of the Minnesota Vikings blog: The Viking age. Be sure to swing over there and check them out.

 

1). What draft picks do the Vikings have for next year’s draft?
Right now we’ve got a pick every round 1-6 and two sevens. Which is a lot for us cause we’re usually trading all our picks away for old washed-up players. If they win the games they should win the rest of the season they will finish 5-11 and probably be picking around #10. Which will of course tick off all the people who want them to lose on purpose for a better pick.
2). What happened to Donovan Mcnabb?
Donovan suffers from the syndrome that attacks a lot of talented players who are not especially hard workers. He’s older now and needs to work more in the gym and tape room to compensate for the erosion of his physical abilities, but he’s not willing to put in that work. He just doesn’t seem to want to face the reality that he’s not the same player he was 5 years ago and can no longer coast on physical talent alone. I think his lack of motivation caught the team off-guard. They thought he still had enough left to give them a good season and keep Christian Ponder on the bench, but then they found out what a slacker he is and knew there was no sense keeping him in there. I would be shocked if anyone gives him a chance at a starting job next season after this. He might make a decent back-up. He’ll be out of the league in two years and talking on ESPN probably.


3). Is there any heat right now on Leslie Frazier?
There’s no heat on Frazier because I think everyone was realistic about the team’s chances coming in. They knew they were up against the salary cap and couldn’t address a lot of key personnel issues and that was going to make things tough. They sort of slapped the roster together with the veterans they had, their young guys and a few cheap-o pick-ups like Remi Ayodele and Charlie Johnson, hoping the old guys would be able to make one last run. The run didn’t materialize and now Frazier is phasing out the over-the-hill veterans. It wouldn’t be fair to can Frazier after one season with a jury-rigged roster and a rookie QB. Have to give him at least two years to see if Ponder develops and see if they can fix their offensive line and secondary issues.

 

4). They say it takes three years to evaluate a draft. How does the 2009 draft class look?
I think that draft class is turning out to be a decent one. Obviously the Percy Harvin pick looks really good considering what a gamble people thought that was, what with his off-field issues. There’s no arguing with Harvin’s talent, the problem has been keeping him on the field, and finding ways of using him when he is out there. I think if they had a great deep receiver Harvin would be a much bigger weapon on the short routes. Their 2nd round pick Phil Loadholt was starting to look like a bust last season but I think now he’s finally rounding into form. He came into camp in terrific shape this season, unlike someone I won’t mention, and is obviously a guy who wants to work and get better. I’d say he’s now their second best offensive lineman behind Steve Hutchinson. Their 3rd round guy Asher Allen is undersized and frankly not very good. That seems like a bit of a wasted pick now considering that Allen is still only their fourth corner when everyone’s healthy and not in jail. Jasper Brinkley, their 5th round pick, is on IR this year which put the team in a bit of a bind with their linebacker depth. It would’ve been nice for Brinkley to show some development and maybe become E.J. Henderson’s replacement at MLB, since E.J. has bad knees and may well not be re-signed at the end of the season, but right now they can’t count on him. That’s also basically a wasted pick. The pick that makes this draft class decent is the 7th rounder Jamarca Sanford who has become a better player than I expected at safety. He’s still not great in pass coverage but his run support is excellent, he’s a hard hitter and on a secondary that’s known for not holding onto picks, he had two interceptions in one game this year. Overall it’s a B draft class to me, keeping in mind they only had five picks.

 

5). How about the progression of the 2010 draft class?
Well Chris Cook was starting to look like a pretty good corner this year until he got arrested for domestic assault and suspended (the suspension has now been lifted but he’s still not going to practice or play). You have to say that on the player’s raw ability and growth over two years, keeping in mind that he was injured a lot his rookie season, that was a good pick, but then the character stuff comes in and you have to say, in hindsight, it was a bad pick. 2nd rounder Toby Gerhart is a hard-nosed guy and a decent runner but I think everyone’s been disappointed with his lack of impact as a third down back. When you draft a guy in the 2nd you want him to become more than just the guy who gives Adrian Peterson a series off every now and then. Looking back, it’s puzzling that the pick was even made when you consider the secondary, O-line and QB issues the team was facing coming out of 2009. I think Brad Childress dropped the ball big time taking Gerhart where he did. 4th round pick Everson Griffen is a guy who started out as kind of a laughing stock because of his legal problems but now he’s turning into one of the better role players on the team. He’ll get you a sack, he’ll chase guys all over the place on special teams, they’ve even used him in some special packages as a linebacker. I’m starting to develop a crush on him, quite frankly. Now unfortunately you come to the part of the draft that makes it look really terrible. Of two 5th round picks, you’ve got OG Chris DeGeare who in his second year is still on the practice squad – for a team that has dire offensive line issues – and LB Nate Triplett who is long gone. Whiffing on two 5th rounders in one draft is pretty awful. Then you have 6th rounder Joe Webb who is holding a clipboard as the third QB after being drafted as a receiver, something that makes no sense to anyone. 7th round TE Mickey Shuler, long gone. The diamond in the rough here is their 7th rounder Ryan D’Imperio who was a linebacker in college but has made the successful transition to fullback. D’Imperio has actually become a solid lead blocker for Adrian Peterson so, hey, Chilly got one right there. To me overall this is no better than a D+ draft class. 8 picks and the guy making the biggest impact right now is the linebacker-turned-fullback you took last? Ugly.

 

6). There were many, many critics of the Christian Ponder selection. How does that look right now?
I’m possibly the only Viking fan in the world who will say this but, it’s still too early to say on Ponder. Everyone else is ready to crown this guy but I still think we should hold off. He’s been good so far and is clearly a smart guy who works his butt off and doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear, but he’s still a rookie and we’re a long way from knowing if he will ultimately be a winning quarterback. Get back to me at the end of the season. If he’s able to win a few tough games despite having almost no help at offensive line and receiver I’ll be more ready to jump on the bandwagon. It’s been encouraging so far but, like I said, he’s still a rookie. And even if he does turn out to be good it still won’t change the fact that the Vikings in their heart of hearts wanted Jake Locker and after he came off the board wanted to trade down but couldn’t find a partner. Taking Ponder was a panic pick, pure and simple.

 

7). How do the day two picks look for the Vikings?
I would like to tell you but none of them have played. Actually I take that back: Christian Ballard gets into a game every now and then at defensive tackle. He did have a sack earlier this year so there’s that. Brandon Burton and Mistral Raymond can’t find the field despite all the injuries/arrests in the secondary. Brandon Fusco got a minute at right guard after Anthony Herrera blew out his knee again and didn’t embarrass himself. D’Aundre Reed has been inactive every week. Ross Homan was cut. Stephen Burton was a practice squad guy but got promoted to the 53-man after Bernard Berrian was mercifully booted off the team. Haven’t seen him in an actual game yet. Oh I forgot about DeMarcus Love. There’s a good reason for that.

 

8). Are there any undrafted Free Agents or late round picks who look like they could turn into mainstays on the Vikings roster?
Marcus Sherels was a UDFA in 2010 who is now their punt returner, and a decent one at that. My blogging partner Jon Merckle loves LB Larry Dean who is currently a fairly good special teams guy. Then there’s Allen Reisner who everyone raved about in camp. Reisner is on the practice squad right now but with Visanthe Shiancoe possibly leaving via free agency he may get his shot next year. Or he may turn out to be another one of those guys everyone falls in love with in camp and then you never hear from him again. Is there any form of hype more empty than camp hype?

 

9). Can the New York Giants have Adrian Peterson?

No.

10). Are you a draft guy? If so, who are some players you love/hate for the 2012 NFL Draft?
I’m not a big draft wonk but I’ve been told by the people I trust that I should be in love with Justin Blackmon. As a Badger fan (WILL YOU PLEASE LEARN HOW TO BLOCK FOR YOUR PUNTER!) I would say watch out for Montee Ball. He’s better than your average bruising John Clay/P.J. Hill-like Wisconsin running back. He actually has some shimmy and speed. As for Russell Wilson…no. Unless you like undersized guys who make terrible decisions.

 

11). Based on how the team is playing right now, what are the needs for next year?
Wide receiver. Left tackle. Cornerback. Safety. Right guard. Possibly center. Left guard since Hutch is getting old. Defensive tackle since Kevin Williams is just about done. Linebacker. They’re pretty well set at running back, tight end and defensive end though, so that’s good news. Seriously, this team left itself in a pretty bad spot with their aggressiveness over the years in trading away picks, plus there were the bad picks made during the Childress era. Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier will have to do some pretty fancy stuff personnel-wise to keep this team from being bad again next year.

 

12). Anything else to add (here is where you can also pimp your site and twitter handle)
I would like to say thank you to NFL Mocks for inviting me to participate in this Q&A. The website is The Viking Age and my Twitter is @vikingagedan. Follow me if you like bad comedy and endless Adrian Peterson licking.

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