Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was the NFL’s MVP last season, and Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was often criticized for not doing enough to capitalize on the way opposing defenses were keying on Minnesota’s running game. But Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman doesn’t see it that way.
In fact, Spielman told Albert Breer of NFL Network that he believes Ponder is as responsible as anyone, Peterson included, for the way the Vikings fought their way into the playoffs at the end of the season.
“I give him just as much credit for getting us in the playoffs as Adrian,” Spielman said.
Spielman said that the Vikings’ four-game winning streak to close the regular season showed a lot from the team’s young players, including Ponder.
“When we did have that dip last year, when we lost some games, and we had to win those four games to get in the playoffs, that showed maturation of this roster, as those young guys started to grow and handle that pressure of everything that was at stake as we went through that last part of the season,” Spielman said. “So you’re hoping and you’re expecting that to carry on to this year.”
It’s probably not realistic to think Peterson could be any better in 2013 than he was in 2012. So if the Vikings’ offense is going to keep getting better this year, the improvement will need to come from Ponder.