The Minnesota Vikings drafted Christian Ponder in the first round of 2011 NFL Draft with the intention of Ponder being the quarterback of the future, but when exactly can this be Christian Ponder's team?
Initially, the Vikings gave Ponder the keys to the offense. They allowed Ponder an extended look at the playbook, allowed him to work with what players were available, and otherwise seemed somewhat poised to do just that: make this Ponder's team.
But reality stepped in, and the organization inevitably signed veteran Donovan McNabb to not only lead the team this season, but also act as a mentor in Ponder's development.
Now the thinking here is that McNabb has a single year to accomplish both jobs, eventually paving the road for Ponder in his sophomore year to take over, but as we've often seen in the NFL, there are no guarantees.
So again; when can this be Ponder's team?
We can assume that next year would be the trendy answer here, but if McNabb wants to re-sign, the Vikings could be placed in an awkward position—especially if McNabb finds surmountable success this season.
We can also assume, however, that the organization is dead-set on a one-and-done for McNabb regardless of what he accomplishes.
When will Ponder take over this team?
I think the real answer here relies heavily on what Ponder accomplishes in preseason, camp and other unforeseen opportunities that may come throughout the season.
If Ponder can take full advantage of every opportunity mentioned, and show he is ready, then the organization will have no choice but to act upon their envisioned plan.
But only time will tell.
Ponder has given many of us reasons to believe he could in fact make this his team in time, but he has also shown us all that there is still a lot of work to do—par-for-the-course really.
But if Ponder can consistently build upon each accomplishment, and advance ever so slightly with each passing chance, the keys to the car will be on the table.
If we look for the answer now, then we have to assume that the 2012 season is the earliest possibility for Ponder to take over and make this his team.
If we keep reality in the fore-front, we have to assume that Ponder can make this his team at any given point between now and next season.
If we lend favor to a more realistic answer, then most will agree that the former outweighs the latter, making 2012 the anticipated time when Ponder can make the Minnesota Vikings his team.