Christian Ponder says he needs to play more relaxed

AP

Christian Ponder has his job back as the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and he vows to play with a different mindset after getting a second opportunity.

Ponder will start this week for the Vikings in place of Josh Freeman against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. Freeman suffered a concussion that will keep him from playing and allow Ponder another chance under center for the Vikings.

He vows to play more relaxed this time around. According to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ponder said he had been putting a lot of pressure on himself and felt he was never able to feel in sync with the offense this year.

“Now is the opportunity to take that deep breath and go out and have fun again. I already got benched, so it can’t get worse than that,” Ponder said.

The numbers prove it. Ponder has thrown just two touchdowns compared to five interceptions in three games started this season. He’s completing just 59-percent of his passes, has been sacked 10 times and has a passer rating of 65.9.

With another chance to show he can play more consistently, Ponder plans to play with a different mindset in hopes it improves the results on the field.

“The biggest thing for me is to play more relaxed,” he said. “I feel like I came out here running the scout team and stuff and practiced relaxed and then came out here running the first team and practiced relaxed, too. That’s going to be big for me.”