Christian Ponder has a 75.8 percent completion rate so far this year and is throwing for 8.3 yards per attempt. With only 17 yards lost on sacks, his adjusted net yards per attempt is 7.47. Last year, that would have made him the fifth-most efficient quarterback in the NFL, above Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford.
His quarterback rating right now is 110.6.
Importantly, the Vikings improved their third-round conversion rate from the previous week, moving the chains on 46.7 percent of attempts.
That's not to say that the sample size is appropriate yet for this type of statistic, but it is indicative of solid overall play. Christian has been lucky on a number of bad decisions, to be fair, but he has also displayed much better decision-making.
It's easy to get annoyed that Ponder hasn't been throwing it very deep, but he also hasn't been taking very many unnecessary risks. Last week, his longest gain was 29 yards, and this week, it was 20.
The issue has not been arm strength; Ponder has been able to fit the ball into very tight windows. Rather, he hasn't been able to find much separation for his receivers and has either checked down or scrambled.
He has consistently made good decisions on his reads in the past two games.
Hopefully, the addition of Jerome Simpson will provide variety to a Vikings offense that's relying on yards after the catch and creative run calls to make gains.
Right now, Ponder is doing a very good job taking what the defense gets him. In order to develop, he's going to have to move up to the next level and start making defenses adapt to him rather than the other way around.
Fans shouldn't be upset that Ponder plays it safe; rather, they should be bothered by the fact that the receiving corps can't find ways to make for easy throws.
When Ponder has needed to make deep passes or drive down the field, he has been able to do so—but drops and small passing windows have obviated that from his game as of right now.