Joe Webb's Wild-Card Flop Puts Christian Ponder's Value on Display

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2013

Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Christian Ponder (7) in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Ponder will not be confused with Aaron Rodgers anytime soon, but he’s a much better quarterback than Joe Webb.

That much was crystal clear on Jan. 5. The Minnesota Vikings edged the Green Bay Packers in their season finale just one week prior to their playoff loss.

They looked like a completely different team one week later with Webb behind center.

For as much flack as Ponder has received this season because of his shortcomings, he will be appreciated infinitely more by the team’s fanbase after Webb’s performance.

Not even Adrian Peterson, who ran for over 400 yards in two contests against Green Bay this season, could get anything going thanks to the team’s inability to do anything in the passing game.

With Ponder, at least there is a threat of the team taking some shots and actually connecting on them. Webb, on the other hand, was well off each time he attempted to go downfield.

He also tucked the ball frequently and oftentimes too early, resulting in defensive linemen shedding blocks and dropping the QB.

Not having a viable running game will do that to a team.

If Ponder had been in there, what would have changed?

There is definitely no guarantee that the Vikings would not have suffered the same fate if their starting QB could have played through his shoulder injury.

But Webb’s dreadful performance has to make you think Ponder could have done more to give his team a chance to win. It’s that chance that makes him such an attractive option for the Vikings moving forward.

With Adrian Peterson, a team doesn’t need Aaron Rodgers or a high-flying aerial attack. Ponder has the skills to make plays within the Vikings system.

After all, he led them to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth.

Green Bay’s tough defense may have gotten the better of him earlier in the season, but he rebounded nicely with the team’s season on the line.

His play down the stretch was exceptional as well. A three-touchdown performance against Green Bay in Week 17 helped get the Vikings into the postseason.

Accuracy is a problem for the young QB, and a lack of receiving options has definitely hindered his development. With Percy Harvin out for the season, he has had to work with a group of targets that would be lucky to start for any other team in the NFL.

Despite all of that, the Vikings’ youngster led his team to the postseason.

Some people wanted Ponder gone at times this season because of his shortcomings. Joe Webb’s NFC wild-card performance at Lambeau Field should serve as caution.

“Be careful what you wish for.”