Christian Ponder just as important as Adrian Peterson in making playoffs, says Vikings GM

Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spelman says QB Christian Ponder's middling sophomore season had just as much to do with the franchise's postseason appearance as Adrian Peterson's near-record-setting year.

Running back Adrian Peterson had one of the incredible seasons of any running back in NFL history, coming back from a torn ACL and MCL to finish just 8 yards short of the single-season record for most yards rushing. Quarterback Christian Ponder was average. But Vikings general manager Rick Spelman says Ponder was just as important as Peterson in the team's push to make the postseason.

Buried in an interesting story by NFL.com's Albert Breer about the Vikings' impressive draft class, emphasis on building young and developing players in-house is the somewhat strange tidbit from Spelman, who has already told Matt Cassel he will be Ponder's backup.

Ponder finished the 2012 season 21st in QB rating and 25th in passing yardage. To be fair, the second-year quarterback did finish the season strong. He threw for a combined 408 yards with four touchdowns for crucial weeks 16 and 17 wins. And when Ponder was hurt for the team's playoff game against Green Bay, Joe Webb sputtered, going 11-for-30 for 180 yards.

Of course, Peterson ran for 150 yards or more in three of those four wins down the stretch, but Ponder was somewhat indispensable, too, and it's never bad to say some stuff in public that inspires confidence in the guy who will be starting at quarterback for your team in the immediate future.

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