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The last time the Vikings had a No. 5 as their signal caller, things didn't go so well. Will this time be different?
It seems inevitable that Freeman will be the guy very soon. He has a big arm, good movement and certainly looks the part. But remember, this is the same guy who had a pretty talented team in Tampa yet never led them to the playoffs. Will Freeman continue to grow, or has he reached his ceiling? Only time will tell, and it may come at the expense of another young quarterback, who in the long run, may have the better career.
I cannot say that I am angry with the Vikings organization. Obviously, they see a lot more than we ever could, and maybe they realize that Ponder was taking longer than expected to blossom. I actually thought re-signing Antoine Winfield was more realistic.
However, I am disappointed in how this whole thing went down. People are so impatient. Our culture of immediacy is destroying the natural growth and progression of things. Progress is relative, but in this case it doesn't appear to be so. I am not saying that Ponder would have ever developed into an All-Pro quarterback, but he should have at least been given this whole year in order to provide the staff a resume for two full seasons to evaluate. Imagine had the Giants done that with Eli Manning. Even the Jets gave Mark Sanchez four years. And we're talking New York, folks! New York!
This is a team sport, and unfortunately the media and fans look squarely at the quarterback position as if it exists within its own universe. The scrutiny these guys come under is, at times, unfair. I have laid out several reasons why Ponder may have gotten off to the slow start he has, but sometimes it’s not enough in a world of what have you done for me this week.
Finally, some closing perspective.
I think the greater disappointment comes from the fact that Ponder has not been horrible. No, he is not a top-level quarterback. He may never be, but then again, with proper grooming and guidance, he might.
The Vikings brought in Donovan McNabb to be that bridge for Ponder to grow and learn, but his miserable play, for a seasoned veteran, compelled the Vikings to put in Ponder before he was ready to grab the reins. And so we have, “It is what it is.”
I think it has become that convenient adage of, “throw someone under the bus,” and Ponder is the man on the firing line.
My hope is that Christian, if traded, or released at season’s end, or if something happens sooner, will find an organization where he can grow and excel, and perhaps one day will be able to look at the Vikings organization and give them the middle finger as an appropriate symbol for how he was treated mostly by the fans.
By signing Freeman, the organization is taking a calculated gamble that in the end may pay off, and at the very least, tempers the foaming mouths of its fan base that seemed to call for Ponder’s head on a platter. But the flip side is this all blows up and the Vikings muddle through a so-so year.
The organization has seemingly given you your wish, but be careful what you wish for.