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Christian Ponder Meets Fellow Overlooked QB Blaine Gabbert & More NFC North News

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass against the San Diego Chargers on August 24, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2012

I was reading Judd Zulgad at 1500 ESPN this morning and he had a good post about the coming Vikings-Jaguars game and how it will serve to show us a bit of how far Christian Ponder has come this offseason. Zulgad points out that Ponder and Gabbert had similar rookie seasons and face similar challenges.

I think I made an offhand comment yesterday about how it was interesting that Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder face each other in Week 1 (and on a more general note, how the Vikings and Jaguars face each other as well).

The connection is pretty self-evident to me—here are two quarterbacks who had rough rookie seasons, were thrown to the wolves before they were ready and have in many ways been written off by many fans and media outside their home states and towns.

Writ larger, it's the same case for the teams—it's assumed the Vikings and Jaguars will not amount to much this season.

It's been said many times, but a full offseason will make a huge difference for both these quarterbacks, and really, you can see it already.

It makes for an intriguing matchup this weekend even if, as Zulgad points out, they don't directly play each other.


Chicago Bears

ESPN Chicago's Micheal Wright says the heat is on the offensive line to step up this year.

The Tribune's Vaughn McClure says that the 1,000 season Brandon Marshall brings to Chicago is a new look for the Bears.

B/R's Ernest Shephard says that we should give Brian Urlacher the benefit of the doubt in how he is dealing with his knee injury.


Detroit Lions

Dave Birkett of the Free Press talks about the ribbing Matt Stafford is getting over his Monday Night Football commercial.

I love that commercial.

Birkett also gives you his three storylines to watch for this season.

Chris McCosky talks about Suh's increasing comfort levels with Head Coach Jim Schwartz's expectations for him, over at the Detroit News.


Green Bay Packers

Brian Carriveau writes over at CheeseheadTV that the Packers are the sixth youngest team in the NFL this year.

Over at ESPN Wisconsin, Jason Wilde writes that the Packers know they face a stiff challenge in the 49ers defense this weekend.

Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette says that despite the slow preseason, the offense isn't worried.


Minnesota Vikings

The Daily Norseman's Ted Glover talks about the potentially impending Battle of the Backups between the Jags and Vikings.

The Star-Tribune's Mark Craig talks about the Vikings' young secondary and how it has time to develop.'s Mike Wobschall writes about the three first-round picks set to play in this Sunday's game: Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith for the Vikings and Justin Blackmon for the Jaguars.

Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report! Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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