Trying to decide whether Christian Ponder will, in fact, be the opening day starter this season?
Well, join the club because we all are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still try and predict what Ponder’s final stats will be, right?
The consensus from Ponder himself is that he is hoping to be that guy on opening day, which you’ll be able to read later this week in my interview with him.
But the NFL is a crazy-wacky world with little guarantees, so it's actually a good thing that Ponder is as talented as he is now.
Ponder was a prolific passer at FSU finishing his final two seasons with a 68.8 percent completion rate in 2009, and a 61.5 percent completion rate in 2010.
In addition to those numbers he finished his career at FSU passing for 6,872 yards, 49 TDs and 30 INTs.
The competition level in the NFL will be faster, more complex and downright harder than his college days, but let’s not forget the Vikings new system that will be installed and the weapons he should and could have in Minny this year.
The new system will help curb ill-advised throws downfield (not eliminate though, of course) and it will offer Ponder numerous options in various areas of the field.
Will Ponder eclipse 3,000 yards passing in 2011?
The new system will also be forward looking to have Percy Harvin more involved, and Adrian Peterson doing more work as a receiving back.
All of these things significantly help a budding rookie quarterback by giving a huge booster to his confidence level with each completion, while minimizing costly mistakes that can bring a player down.
Just ask Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.
But Ponder also comes with a heavy sense of football smarts, and a heightened understanding of the game, which is why the front office liked him so much.
They have already commented on them (Minnesota Vikings) have the next Matt Ryan which attests to their faith in Ponder already.
I don’t think Ponder is going to have too much difficulty getting things done, though.
Sure, there are some teams around the league that will more-than-likely give him trouble, but in regard to end of season performance, I think many fans are going to be pleasantly surprised.
Assuming Ponder is the starting quarterback, and stays healthy a full 16 games, I am pretty confident in the following end of year stat line that could become a reality for Ponder and Vikings’ fans:
3,198 passing yards, 278 completions out of 461 attempts (60 percent completion rate) with 18 TDs and 12 INTs.
On top of the base stats, don’t be surprised if he hauls at least one 300-plus yard game, and expect Ponder to be on the run a bit, especially early in the season—I see at least 60 rushes for about 110 yards, but a score could also come from one of them too.
Of course, those numbers are subject to wind up better if the Vikings land a big-time receiver later on down the road, or wind up worse if the O-line doesn’t improve from 2010.
Let’s hopefully wish for the better of the two.