Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ponder will start the rest of the season

 October 19, 2011  Star Tribune

"It's a done deal. And permanent too. That's the hope at Winter Park anyway.
On Wednesday morning, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier stopped delaying the inevitable and made the official declaration. Rookie Christian Ponder is now the starting quarterback. And barring injury or some other unforeseen circumstance, Ponder will start the team's final 10 games.
The first start comes Sunday versus the undefeated Packers at Mall of America Field.
"This does not mean that I am giving up on the 2011 season or that our coaching staff if giving up on the 2011 season," Frazier said. "The decision was made purely on what will gives us the best chance to win on Sunday. That's why the decision was made. I didn't feel or sense that staying status quo was going to get us a win on Sunday. Based on that, along with some other things that I looked at, I decided this was the direction we needed to go at this point in our season."
Realistically, it's far too late for Ponder to revive a 2011 season that has the Vikings at 1-5 and ahead of only the Rams in the NFC standings. But it's certainly not too early to start getting the 23-year-old some much-needed game experience. And while Frazier insisted repeatedly Wednesday that he promoted Ponder over Donovan McNabb to give the Vikings the best chance at winning Sunday's home game with Green Bay, there's far greater long-term value for the franchise in making the switch now.
"There's no question that the fact that he'll get a chance to start playing in Week 7 of our season, it should help him in the future," Frazier said. "But that was not a part of my thinking."

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