The Minnesota Vikings have one more preseason game to get through before they expose to themselves to a round-the-clock quarterback controversy as the team continues to label Matt Cassel as its starter for Week 1 ahead of rookie Teddy Bridgewater. The one thing that won’t be a controversy is Christian Ponder’s place on the depth chart and his role in the team’s upcoming final preseason game.
Head coach Mike Zimmer was asked what he wanted from Ponder in Thursday’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans — a game in which the former first-round pick is expected to see big minutes. Zimmer gave the Star Tribune a succinct answer. “Just have the poise, when he’s getting rushed, to make the right throws,” he said.
That’s easier said than done for Ponder, who’s dealt with plenty of blitzes in his young career despite sharing an offense with running back Adrian Peterson, whose presence often altered defensive game plans opposite Ponder.
While Christian Ponder certainly has an NFL-grade arm, it’s his pocket presence that sent him from being the team’s starter two years ago to being the unquestioned emergency quarterback with hardly any value in the NFL. That doesn’t mean coach Zimmer is counting him out.
“I’d like to see him do what he does out here in practice,” Zimmer said. “He made, like, three great throws [Tuesday].”
Hopefully Ponder will make sure to remind his teammates of that when they pick him up off the turf on Thursday.
Outside of Thursday’s game, expect the only news tied to Ponder to be related to potential trade rumors.