|QB Christian Ponder has been far from great this season, but the Vikings are 5-2, so it's hard for anybody to do too much complaining. (US Presswire)|
The Vikings are 5-2. They are undefeated at home. They are a half-game out of first place in the NFC North. And with a win Thursday against the Buccaneers, they will have doubled their win total of 2011 midway through 2012. So why is it that all anyone wants to talk about is what's wrong with QB Christian Ponder?
Ponder had a rough game against the Cardinals on Sunday. He passed for a season-low 58 yards and had two bad interceptions, including one that led to an Arizona touchdown. He has had two interceptions in the past three weeks, one a pick-6 that crippled the chances of a Vikings comeback in Washington. After four games without an interception, he's up to six against nine touchdown passes.
Ponder is No. 5 in accuracy among his NFL counterparts (67 percent). In the past three pick-filled games, the Vikings are 2-1. Yet the phone lines and Viking chat rooms are crowded with concern over the second-year quarterback. Do they have a legitimate beef? Well, head Leslie Frazier is not worried.
Frazier said Ponder has shown good signs. He said Ponder's shown the ability to bounce back from poor plays like throwing an interception to lead the team to touchdowns on the next drive. That's what he did against the Cardinals, throwing an interception on one drive, then hitting Percy (Harvin) for a touchdown on the next.
"Those are signs that he's maturing as a quarterback; he's able to put bad plays behind him,” Frazier said. “And that's what you have to be able to do at that position. It's important to our team. It's important to him. So I'm confident that he'll continue to get better as time goes on.”
Last season, Ponder had a crisis in confidence. He had a bad game against the Lions and started making all kinds of bad throws. He admitted that he lost confidence, which is not unheard of among rookie NFL quarterbacks. But fans are concerned that he has reverted to that form of badly over-throwing players and making costly turnovers.
“You obviously don't want to get worse, our objective is to progress every week,” Ponder said. “I know I need to make a big progression from Sunday through Thursday, and that's what we try to do every week, and that's something I definitely need to do this week.”
Ponder said his confidence is fine, and his coach continues to believe in him. Even his teammates, including WR Jerome Simpson, who was caught one pass and was only targeted twice on Sunday, still haven't lost faith in him.
“He's just getting us wins, so as long as we're winning, everything is good,” Simpson said. “I think he is playing pretty good and we're winning, so I can't really complain very much.”
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