The proposal by the Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County for a $1.057 billion stadium in Arden Hills came with a twist—it features a retractable roof. If passed through legislation, this particular stadium plan will be a blessing for rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Texas native, who played his college ball at Florida State, is in for a chilling culture shock as early as October. In fact, his trip to Minnesota after the draft was the first time he'd ever visited the Land of 10,000 Outdoor Hockey Rinks. Ponder enters the league with injury baggage, and he'll soon find out that getting hit in Antarctica stings worse than getting hit in Tallahassee.
More importantly, Ponder's skill set is much better suited for a controlled climate.
Unlike fellow NFC North quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford, Ponder doesn't possess the kind of arm strength needed to cut the ball through blustery winds. He's an accuracy and touch passer—inclement weather has a way of turning those balls into fluttering pick-sixes.
Ponder's mobility is another asset that would certainly be neutralized by the uncertain footing of Minnesota winters.
The new roof would most likely only be open for the first month of the season. Moreover, Ponder would be eased into the league for three seasons in the Metrodome—the perfect setting for him—during the construction period.
Had the proposal for the current Metrodome site been chosen, the Vikings would have been forced outside to the Gophers' TCF Bank Stadium for three seasons. You surely remember that snow globe from last season's Week 15 tilt against the Bears, when iron man Brett Favre was knocked out early in the second quarter.
Digesting a playbook, and the speed of the NFL, is hard enough for a rookie signal caller. Adding breathtaking sub-zero temperatures into the equation may have been impossible for Ponder to overcome.