Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder Is NFL's Quarterback of the Future

Brian Dezelske@@BrianDezelskeCorrespondent IIIOctober 31, 2011

Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder Is NFL's Quarterback of the Future

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    Yesterday, rookies Christian Ponder and Cam Newton displayed why they are the NFL's future at the quarterback position.

    Ponder led the Minnesota Vikings to a 24-21 win—the first of his career—against Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

    His victory didn’t come without a late-drive scare from Newton, who completed a 44-yard pass to Brandon LaFell on a 4th-and-14 play that helped set up a game-tying field-goal attempt.

    We all know what Newton has done this season, and we all know he’s a budding superstar, but Ponder displayed five things on that game-winning drive that show why he, and Newton, are the QBs of the future in the NFL.

Poise and Composure

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    On yesterday’s game-winning drive, Christian Ponder displayed the poise and composure that is paramount at the quarterback position.

    Ponder marched down field on a 13-play, 72-yard drive, completed five passes for 53 yards and chewed up 7:10 off the clock to set up Ryan Longwell’s 31-yard game-winning field goal.

    The calmness he displayed as a young QB shows that he is beyond his years in terms of development and growth—characteristics that go a long way with his teammates.

Great Athleticism

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    While Cam Newton more closely resembles Michael Vick or Vince Young when he runs, and while Christian Ponder doesn’t compare to any of the aforementioned QBs, you can make a comparison to Aaron Rodgers.

    The way he gets out in space on bootleg plays is almost identical to Rodgers. He’s also smart like Rodgers in that he doesn’t try to do too much with his feet—just enough to either evade the rush or get the first down.

    That athleticism is contagious and energizes his teammates to want to be on the field and help him win.

Arm Strength and Accuracy

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    Christian Ponder doesn’t have the rocket arm of a Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger, but he has displayed the necessary arm strength to get the ball deep downfield and hit his receivers.

    More importantly, he’s shown us the pinpoint accuracy that is crucial to the success of any quarterback.

    Yesterday, he threw for 236 yards on 18-for-28 passing with a touchdown.

    Those are solid statistics for a guy in his second career start.

He Makes His Teammates Better

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    In two games as a starter, Christian Ponder has already helped improve the play of his receivers—most notably, Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins.

    Harvin had, by far, his best game of the season. He caught four balls for 58 yards, including two catches for 33 yards on the game-winning drive.

    He also carried the ball three times for 16 yards and ran for a touchdown.

    Harvin, who has been battling nagging injuries for most of the season, is sure to see increased targets from his new QB and will hopefully develop a chemistry that lasts for the next eight years.

    In Ponders’ first start, he helped Jenkins achieve his first career 100-yard game in eight seasons.

The Aaron Rodgers Comparison

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    Don't look now, Green Bay Packers fans, but Aaron Rodgers may just be seeing a younger version of himself growing up right in front of him.

    Don’t get me wrong here, nobody is on Aaron Rodgers’ level right now, but Christian Ponder is showing similar characteristics as Rodgers when he became a starter in 2008.

    Ponders’ ability to get out in space and throw on the run is very similar to Rodgers, and while he doesn’t have Rodgers’ arm strength, he definitely has Rodgers’ accuracy.

    Another trait that people need to start taking notice of is his calmness and ability to stay cool under pressure—one of the best traits that Rodgers displays, outside of reading defenses.

    Just give Ponder a couple years and we will be seeing him read and break down defenses like his NFC North counterpart.


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