On Sunday, Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings was the latest rookie to make his debut start. The 12th overall pick this year couldn't have asked for it to come against a tougher opponent than the Green Bay Packers. Because of that, it's hard to be too judgmental about his inaugural start in the 33-27 loss.
Ponder was 13 of 32 for 219 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions on the game. He started and ended strongly but struggled during the middle part of the game. The Vikings took advantage of Ponder's athleticism, using him a lot of roll outs and play action. Moxie is the descriptor people will use talking about Ponder.
If nothing else, Ponder left a good impression. Here are some of the thoughts on Ponder's play:
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (via the Pioneer Press):
I think he's got a bright future. I like the way he plays. He moves around really well, and he made some plays with his feet. He made some great plays there in the fourth quarter, finding guys on the backside moving around. I think their offense moved the ball well.
His ability to throw on the run is going to come in handy playing behind that shaky offensive line, and his starting debut made Minnesota look prescient for spending the 12th overall pick on him in April's draft.
- Head coach Leslie Frazier (via AP):
He never got down on himself. He continued to make the plays that needed to be made. He showed a lot of the poise you need against a very, very good defense. He made a lot of plays and it really gives you some hope for the future.
This offense just straight-up, flat-out looked better with Christian Ponder behind the controls this afternoon. Yes, you can say that Ponder got a lot of help from Adrian Peterson, who ran for 175 yards on 24 carries on the afternoon. But you know what? Peterson got a lot of help from Ponder, too.