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Tarkenton wants Ponder to prove he can do it

Tarkenton Getty Images

While my omission of Bud Grant may have caused the biggest stir in the Vikings’ Mt. Rushmore process, the guy who led the way in PFT Planet voting had some strong words, too.

Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton joined Pro Football Talk on NBCSN to reflect on his career with the Vikings, and to give an assessment of the current team.

“I think this is a big year for Christian Ponder,” Tarkenton said of his current successor.  “He had signs last year of being ready to play and he played well the second half of the year.  We’ve got Adrian Peterson who is the greatest running back since Jimmy Brown.  He’s the only running back I’ve ever said this, better than Jimmy Brown, I think he is.  So, you get single coverage and that makes it good for the quarterback.  Christian Ponder has got to step it up this year and prove he’s the guy.  I think it’s a pivotal year for him.  If he can play at the ability level that I think he has, I think that this will be a very special team this year.”

Asked by Erik Kuselias for his gut-level feeling on Ponder, Tarkenton was candid — even though he couldn’t provide a clear answer.

“I don’t know,” Tarkenton said.  “My gut doesn’t tell me either way.  He’s got to show me.  I’d like to see a little more fire in his belly.  I’d like to see him use his legs more.  He’s a smart kid.  He really is smart.  He’s got a good arm but you’ve got to have all those intangibles.  He’s got to take over and lead the team and put the team on his shoulders and they got to come to the sideline and they got to come to the huddle and say, ‘You’re the guy, you got to pull this thing out for us.’  If he’s got that, and he might, he’s going to have to show up this year.  This will be his third year.  This is the year that he should start making a real, significant move.”

Tarkenton made plenty of significant moves for the Vikings, starting with the first game in franchise history — a 38-13 win over the Bears.  His attitude toward his three Super Bowl losses was that the Vikings simply ran out of time.  Tarkenton also added a name to the Mt. Rushmore that was omitted from the fan list, and everyone else’s.

For the full segment with Tarkenton, click that little circle thing below.

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26 Responses to “Tarkenton wants Ponder to prove he can do it”
  1. Talk football or shut your pie hole... says: Jun 12, 2013 8:45 AM

    Tarkenton was my favorite QB in the 70′s but after watching the video it’s clear his memory is flawed on the details of the past.

    For example he said the Vikings “beat the Dolphins the year before and the year after” they lost to the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. Nope… they lost to them the year before and didn’t play them the year after.

    Secondly, the Vikings weren’t down 14-0 in the SB against the Dolphins before they ever got the ball on offense because of an onside kick. They gave up a TD to go down 7-0 and then went 3 and out and punted.

    And he’s certainly mistaken about the Vikings having a better better team than the Dolphins.

    And it wasn’t -1 when the played the Rams in 74 or in 76. It was cold (28 degrees in 74 and 19 in 76) but no where near that cold.

    I’m a Vikings fan but lets not rewrite history to make excuses.

    So I for one am not surprised that his gut doesn’t tell him one way or another as he’s not very clear on much at all.

    As for Florio’s ommission of Bud Grant all I can say is it clear you have little understanding of football as a team sport.

    Bluntly, not picking Grant is stupid. He won division championships in 68, 69, 70, 71, 77, and 80 without Tarkenton. And in 73, 74, 75, 76,and 78 with him. That’s 11 of 13 years. Tarkenton deserves to be on the mountain of course, but so does Grant.

  2. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 12, 2013 8:47 AM

    Hey, for once Tarkenton almost made sense. Not bad for a guy who committed securities fraud.

  3. whatjusthapped says: Jun 12, 2013 9:10 AM

    Take another big gulp of that Purple Kool Aide and step back from the microphone.

    Starting with the obvious, the 3 Superbowl losses were not because the Vikings ran out of time, it was clearly three choke jobs in that the Vikings were favored and simply didn’t play well under the hot spot light. A trend that continues to this day.

    The company line on Ponder is laughable. The guy sucks but what do you expect out of the Viking front office, they drafted him way too high and now they have to live with it until even an idiot can recognize that he isn’t NFL caliber material. And there are no shortage of them among the Viking faithful.

  4. starchybunker says: Jun 12, 2013 9:22 AM

    “He’s the only running back I’ve ever said this, better than Jimmy Brown, I think he is. ”

    Yoda?

  5. boobsmcgoo says: Jun 12, 2013 9:42 AM

    That’s incredible!

  6. GenXJay says: Jun 12, 2013 9:48 AM

    I give Ponder a pass on his ability to be the starter this year.
    As a measurable NFL rule of thumb for developing a Qb, it takes 3 years.
    Ponder had less so far due to the CBA dispute.
    So while the greedy ShAaron Rodgers picketed for more cheese, Ponder was without a coaching staff.
    But. Ponder has shown & done more in his early stages a Qb than a certain someone holding a clipboard hiding behind a Legend.

  7. tleach34 says: Jun 12, 2013 10:14 AM

    Ponder is not a franchise QB – plain and simple. He is a good backup at best. he doesn’t lead our offense, Peterson does.
    Every week I watch Ponder play, I just hope he can make a couple of 1st downs and manage to not lose the game for us.

  8. tokyosandblaster says: Jun 12, 2013 10:14 AM

    He already has proven it. One great game in 26 and he is the best QB in the league. Just ask Vikings fans.

  9. walkinginthewasteland says: Jun 12, 2013 10:24 AM

    Fran? Fran? What were the Vikings going to do with all the extra time they needed in Superbowl IX? Lose by twice as much? Their only score was a blocked punt for a TD, in which they missed the XP. The Vikings where held to nine first downs, 119 total offensive yards and 17 rushing yards.

    News flash Fran, you weren’t winning that game if you placed for 120, 180 or 240 minutes.

  10. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 12, 2013 10:29 AM

    Fran is right about Ponder. He looks like he has the tools to be a good NFL quarterback but he has to go out and prove it this year. Not all quarterbacks jump right in and have success in their first two years. In fact, that’s extremely rare. Keep in mind the Vikings went from 3-13 to 10-6 with Ponder at QB, so he should get some credit for that. Also keep in mind that the receivers Ponder has had to work with were terrible. I think we’ll get a big jump forward from Ponder this year. If not, the draft is deep with QB talent next year so I’m sure the Vikings will get someone else if Ponder shows he can’t do the job.

  11. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 12, 2013 10:34 AM

    I might add that if you look back over the years, you’ll find very similar quotes when talking about guys like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, etc. after their second year.

  12. gbmickey says: Jun 12, 2013 10:42 AM

    Once again the obsession continues by genx of the Packers. You do realize that this article is about your old boy Fran not convinced in Ponder which every fan outside Minnesota agrees with? There is only won way the vikings will get out of big brothers shadow, thats win a big game. There is a silver lining in that if they ever managed to it would stop the incessant whining that the refs lost the games for them.

  13. filthymcnasty1 says: Jun 12, 2013 11:26 AM

    One of the things that is hard for Viking fans to understand is professional football. Therefore it’s no surprise that they think Ponder can play.

  14. kahnsbushymustache says: Jun 12, 2013 11:46 AM

    When did Fran Tarkenton turn into Joe Namath?

  15. ponderthedumpoffking says: Jun 12, 2013 11:52 AM

    God, I wish Tarkenton would get a job and stop trolling the Vikings.

  16. Frazier28/7 says: Jun 12, 2013 12:05 PM

    Yes, we would all like that Mr. Tarkenton.

    This year is it for Ponder to prove he belongs on the team. With a great o-line, good receivers, a pro bowl TE and the MVP running the ball there are no more excuses for Ponder.

    Also, he is in the 3rd year of a 4 yr $12 mil contract so if he cant prove it the team isn’t out much with the new rookie wage scale.

  17. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 12, 2013 12:25 PM

    ck Spielman is a Magician says:Jun 12, 2013 10:34 AM

    I might add that if you look back over the years, you’ll find very similar quotes when talking about guys like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, etc. after their second year.

    ——–

    You’ll also find similar quotes when talking about guys like Blaine Gabbert, JP Losman, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, etc. after their second year…

  18. GenXJay says: Jun 12, 2013 1:15 PM

    gbmickey: you do realize this is a Vikings article. Or are you obsessing?
    Also, I simply elaborated on King Ponders situation.
    Now, if you want me to, I can speak cheese. How about: Honor your Legend, the one Brett Favre.

  19. pillowporkers says: Jun 12, 2013 2:01 PM

    gbmickey:

    I recall a game last year that Packers fans took the cake for the biggest whine fest over a loss due to officiating in the history of the sport.

  20. ponderthedumpoffking says: Jun 12, 2013 2:15 PM

    pillowporkers says:
    Jun 12, 2013 2:01 PM
    gbmickey:

    I recall a game last year that Packers fans took the cake for the biggest whine fest over a loss due to officiating in the history of the sport.

    —-

    Are you talking about the game that the NFL and referees admitted was called incorrectly and said publicly that the Packers should have won? Or was it a different game that you’re referring to?

    I’m just wondering. Because if its the Seattle game, then the NFL agreed with us.

  21. bhugunin says: Jun 12, 2013 3:07 PM

    I see you are still whining. So what if it was a mistake….they happen every game…some bigger than others. Packers just are better at whining.

  22. stevent92 says: Jun 12, 2013 3:58 PM

    gbmickey says:
    Jun 12, 2013 10:42 AM
    . . . . . There is a silver lining in that if they ever managed to it would stop the incessant whining that the refs lost the games for them.
    __________________________________

    Russell Wilson. Golden Tate. Hail Mary.

  23. bobnelsonjr says: Jun 12, 2013 7:47 PM

    The isolated north woods folks were a lot more positive about Tarvaris Jackson being the QB of the future than they are about this weak armed Ponder kid.

    As they were about John David Booty, Joe Webb, Fumblepepper, Brad Johnson, Wade Wilson, Steve Dils, Tommy Kramer, and Bob Lee (who is tied for the most Super Bowl TD passes in viking history).

  24. okemon says: Jun 12, 2013 9:35 PM

    I’m still giving Ponder my support. This is his third year. We’ll see. If he struggles again I’m sure the head office will begin to consider picking up someone else. They were slow to try Webb at WR…. finally …

    We’ll see. I really like what rick has done in his first two drafts here. If we need to pick up another QB he will look to the draft again.

    For now this is Ponder’s 3rd season as a viking, although still his 2nd season as far as game count. although with the improvements in the WR s, I still think he’ll have a better season.

  25. duece5 says: Jun 13, 2013 1:41 PM

    Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 12, 2013 8:47 AM

    Hey, for once Tarkenton almost made sense. Not bad for a guy who committed securities fraud.

    duece5 says:

    Oh Carl, the cheese has gotten to YOUR brain.

    I think you mean your own Paul Hornung that was SUSPENDED BY THE LEAGUE for illegal gambling……but hey, why not distort the facts, as it is all in your head!

    DOH!!!!!!

  26. Talk football or shut your pie hole... says: Jun 13, 2013 10:17 PM

    duece5 says:
    Jun 13, 2013 1:41 PM
    Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 12, 2013 8:47 AM

    Hey, for once Tarkenton almost made sense. Not bad for a guy who committed securities fraud.

    duece5 says:

    Oh Carl, the cheese has gotten to YOUR brain.

    I think you mean your own Paul Hornung that was SUSPENDED BY THE LEAGUE for illegal gambling……but hey, why not distort the facts, as it is all in your head!

    DOH!!!!!!

    ————————

    Tark did pay a substantial fine to the SEC… But it didn’t have anything to do with football. But still… check your facts is good advice or you too

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