Minnesota Vikings: Is Christian Ponder a Franchise Quarterback?

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 14, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings signals during a game against the Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have a lot to be excited about after a very surprising season in 2012.  With the team spending the past few years in mediocrity, the Vikings were able to turn it around this season, going 10-6 and even making the playoffs.

Although the Vikings fell to the Packers in the first round, Minnesota fans should still be thrilled that the team was able to turn it around so quickly.

The main reason for the Vikings' success was, of course, the phenomenal season by Adrian Peterson.  He was able to put the team on his back, running wild week after week.  His amazing season was nine yards short of breaking the all-time rushing record held by Eric Dickerson.

With all of the attention on Adrian Peterson, the quarterback position is one that should probably be discussed and debated, and there is one question that should be talked about.

Is Christian Ponder a franchise quarterback for the Vikings?

Ponder has been criticized many times, especially due to his numbers.  Many feel that not throwing for at least 3,000 yards in a season is concerning, and that maybe he isn't the best option for the Vikings.

However, Ponder has now only played in two seasons.  He only played in 11 games during his rookie year, and at this point Ponder is still developing and learning how to play effectively in the NFL.

The biggest thing to look for in a young quarterback is to see if he is developing or not.  In the case of Ponder, he is.

The numbers from 2011 to 2012 showed some promising signs of improvement.  A very promising sign was the jump in completion percentage.  He was able to go from 54 percent to 62 percent in just one year.  That eight percent jump is showing that he is making better throws.

The interceptions also went down, which is a big relief to Vikings fans.  After throwing 13 picks in just 11 games last year, he only threw 12 this season while still throwing the ball nearly 200 more times.

The fact that Ponder didn't eclipse 3,000 passing yards is not a problem in this offense.  While a lot of teams like to air it out all game, the Vikings have a solid running game that they have faith in.  They were second in the league in rushing this year, and that took a lot of pressure of Ponder.

This strong running game will give Ponder even more time to develop as a quarterback.  With that kind of running game, he will be able to work on his play action, and can become a deadly threat to throw down the field.

While Ponder may not have had the best numbers in the league, he showed signs of real improvement.  If that can continue, then there is no doubt that he will be the starting quarterback for the Vikings for the next decade.