No matter how many yards he gains and records he breaks, one of the central arguments in favor of voting for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for MVP this season is Christian Ponder.
The lackluster play of the Vikings’ second-year quarterback makes Peterson’s production and the team’s 8-6 record all the more impressive while also leaving Viking fans to wonder what kind of record their team might have if they were getting more consistently good play from Ponder. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave thinks that play is coming. He likens Ponder to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who Musgrave used to coach, and says that he sees the same kind of progress from Ponder that he saw early in Ryan’s career.
“He’s a young player. This is his first year of having an entire offseason and getting to start each and every game. He’s young and has a lot to learn, but he’s making strides each and every day,” Musgrave said, via Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “There’s a lot of good young quarterbacks in this league who are playing. They take their lumps at times, but they come away with victories as well. It has been fun to watch all these guys develop these last couple of years.”
The state of the receiving depth chart, especially once Percy Harvin was lost for the season, hasn’t done Ponder any favors but it is hardly the sole reason why he’s played well just twice since the start of November. That doesn’t suggest a quarterback making big strides “each and every day,” although you can understand why the Vikings are trying to bolster his confidence any way they can with two games left and a playoff spot hanging in the balance.