Monday, October 3, 2011

Minnesota Vikings Need To Admit Christian Ponder Only Chance They Have At Decent Season

I know it's only the fourth week of the NFL season, but when you're 0-4 in what is arguably the best division in the NFL, it's time to admit things need to change.

Ponder Takes A Snap In Training Camp
Photo: Jim Mone/AP
It's clear that the Donovan McNabb quarterback experiment has failed.  He was supposed to be a stabilizing force while rookie Christian Ponder got his feet under him before becoming the eventual starter.

However, whether through fault of McNabb's inability to move this offense or just general offensive strategy, the Vikings' season is effectively over.  Conceivably they could be 2-2 or 3-1 at this point but they can't make the plays in the fourth quarter to pull these close games out.

Remember McNabb Used To Be Considered A Potential Hall Of Fame Candidate

McNabb has been average in his first four games, when he should be doing really well given his experience and the offensive weapons he has (Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson).  At one point towards the end of his time with the Eagles, many wondered if he was a Hall of Fame candidate.  At that time, the answer was maybe depending on how he continued to play.  The answer right now is a big, fat no.

If you look at another aging quarterback who switched teams this season, Matt Hasselbeck, you'll see how underachieving McNabb has been.

Not Much Better Than Favre

Both quarterbacks have been in similar situations (outstanding running game, couple decent passing options, pretty decent defense), but Hasselbeck's stats greatly exceed McNabb's.  I've even tossed in Brett Favre's stats from his first four games of last year (excluding the QB ratings because I can't calculate that).

                         Completion %  Yards   Yds/Pass Att   TD  INT  QB Rating    ESPN TQBR

Mcnabb                 58.6              680          6.13             4      2           80.9         45 (22rd overall)
Hasselbeck           66.7             1152         8.73             8      3          104.7       82.4 (3rd)
Favre                     56.4              861            6.5             5      7              ---            ---

There are definitely some successful rookie quarterbacks who are playing well (way above expectations) for their respective teams:  Cam Newton In Carolina; Andy Dalton in Cincinnati; the Jaguars have even finally turned to Blaine Gabbert (work in progress).

Do not tell me that the Vikings have a shot at the playoffs in any way.  Their future schedule holds perhaps, at best, three or four wins.  I'm also not saying that in starting Ponder that they are sacrificing the season. Rather the opposite: the only way to have a decent season is to put the rookie in and see what he can do.

I really don't see where the Vikings have any choice.

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