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Ponder was handed the reins to the Vikings’ offense in Week 6 and took his lumps as a rookie QB. He showed promise in a few starts but threw 13 INTs on just 291 pass attempts. As Ponder was selected with the 12th overall pick in 2011, the Vikings have bet that he can do better—and that he can be their franchise QB.
A recovering Adrian Peterson isn’t the ideal support for Ponder, but if Peterson isn't ready, then Toby Gerhart is a capable fill-in. Percy Harvin is perhaps the bright spot on the Vikings roster heading into the season as he is one of the most talented receivers in the league.
The 24-year-old Harvin has expressed frustration with the organization in the offseason, but will be a valuable target for Ponder as long as he keeps his head while on the field. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (a second-year player from Notre Dame) could be a breakout performer in 2012 as well, and the addition of veteran TE John Carlson is stabilizing.
One thing Ponder will have to improve on is his decision-making in the pocket. If he can’t, savvy veteran DBs like Charles Woodson will continue to take advantage (Woodson picked off Ponder twice during the third quarter in Week 7).
Ponder is an unlikely draft pick in 10- or 12-team leagues, but he is certainly a player to keep an eye on. He’s likely to start every game, which is unusual for a bottom-third projected QB. He also has some scrambling ability (7.8 YPC), which is a bonus for fantasy owners.