Spielman: Freeman addition not a reflection on Ponder


In three games this season, Christian Ponder is completing just 59-percent of his passes and has thrown just two touchdowns with five interceptions.

The Minnesota Vikings are 0-3 in games started by Ponder. Ponder’s backup, Matt Cassel, led the Vikings to their first victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4 and the team just brought in Josh Freeman to add to the quarterback mix.

However, General Manager Rick Spielman says that’s not a reflection on their thoughts of Ponder. During a conference call with reporters Monday night, Spielman tried to paint the move to acquire Freeman as purely a move to improve the overall collection of talent on their roster and not an indication of any lessened faith in their former first-round pick.

“I’ve spoken with Christian. I’ve spoken with Matt. I’ve spoken with [McLeod] Bethel[-Thompson] as well and Josh knows the situation as well. This is no determination on where Christian Ponder is. We think Christian Ponder has a bright future,” Spielman said.

“Part of my job is to make sure I’m trying get the best 53 players on this roster. At the end of the season, we’ll make an evaluation like we always do and determine that going forward but by no means is this a reflection on we’re disappointed in Christian Ponder or disappointed in Matt Cassel or disappointed in Bethel, it was just an opportunity to go out and add another football player that we have high regard for.”

Spielman said they intend on keeping Ponder on the roster and have no intention of making further moves with their quarterbacks, though he was less definitive on Bethel-Thompson. The team does still need to make a roster move following the addition of Freeman and carrying four quarterbacks isn’t very commonplace.

The Vikings may still have high hopes and belief in Christian Ponder to be the quarterback they envisioned he could become. However, the Vikings are giving themselves multiple options to turn to if he’s not.

98 responses to “Spielman: Freeman addition not a reflection on Ponder

  1. Silly me I bought a Ponder jersey last year. I plan on burning it soon and posting it on YouTube. Everyone knows Ponder is not a starting NFL QB except the Vikings coaches and management… sad.

  2. Okay well they need to release someone. If they keep all 4 then they’re wasting roster spots. Joe Webb is still on the roster too, I realize technicallly he is a WR now but he also is an emergency relief QB since Bethel-Thompson is always inactive anyways. Spielman loves to play both sides but he needs to admit we needed to make a change because Ponder isn’t cutting it.

  3. Yep, Christian Ponder has a very bright future with the Vikings, just look at Joe Webb, he’s still here! Ponder will debut as the Vikings new 3rd string RB against the Packers on Sunday Night Football!

  4. How is it not? If Ponder were lighting it up, they’d have never given Freeman a thought. I know he doesn’t want to bash any of his players, but come on, be realistic.

  5. Aka: I cannot admit that he was a total reach and has a fake injury. National media will keep believing this wasn’t a benching if I just say I like adding football players to my football team.

  6. I’ve watched Ponder for three years now.. and I only remember 3 games he played like a first round pick. San fran, houston, and last game of the season against GB. Time to move on. inconsistent play because he has happy feet, which makes him terribly inaccurate. He only completes 12% of passes over 40 yards, and fumbles WAY too often when hit.

  7. Sure, man. He’s saying what he has to say to try and keep Ponder’s confidence there and his potential trade value up.

    But let’s be real here. Freeman’s had better years quarterbacking then Ponder ever will. He’s bigger, faster, stronger, with better upside and he’s still just 25 years old. He’s a former first-round pick that at times has looked like he was worth his draft status. Ponder? He’s looked okay, _sometimes_. But he hasn’t really looked like a first-rounder ever.

    And frankly, Schiano hasn’t done much to convince me he isn’t the real problem in Tampa. When has Revis been a character problem or had a problem with a head coach? Revis even suffered the Rex Ryan circus in NY without a peep, but suddenly he’s a problem guy? Schiano’s lucky he’s in a quieter media market than NY. They’d be ripping him apart.

    Bottom line is, they’d be wise to give Freeman a shot once he has the offense down to a fair degree – though admittedly that takes more time than they really have right now.

    But he’s saying what he has to say. Just don’t get to thinking you’ve got anybody who’s paying attention fooled, Spielman.

  8. If it was not for a lucky fumble by the help of Ben this team would be 0-4. It’s not all the QBs fault. Defense has a lot of problems one being the overall scheme. Move on from the Tampa two. It’s old news.

  9. Vikings are shining Ponder up in hopes of landing a trade. You do not bring in Freeman for 3mil and not expect he be the man. That IS a refelction on both Cassel and Ponder. Wow they think people buy that nonsense they are spewing?

  10. Does it mean we don’t trust Ponder or Cassel? What a dumb question…of course not.
    Meanwhile the agent for Ponder is hatching a plan to make Frazier look like a racist dope so that he can escape to Tampa to take the job there………….

  11. In three games this season, Christian Ponder is completing just 59-percent of his passes and has thrown just two touchdowns with five interceptions………..
    THE JOKES ON YOU MINNESOTA……In the last 2.25 seasons that Freeman has played his Comp % is 57%…….he has thrown for 227 yards per game and average ONE TD AND ONE INT per game over a span of 32 games…bunch of dopes….that is why he is gone he sucks

  12. It’s not a reflection on Ponder. It’s a reflection on Spielman’s inability to find a legitimate starting QB!

  13. So this move is not a relection On Christian? You made the right move to improve the team but at leaat don’t B.S. people Rick. You didn’t spend $3 million on Freeman to sit on the bench, so please don’t say this isn’t a relection on Ponder. I am a former Ponder supporter, but I realize that he just isn’t going to get the job done.

  14. And there is not a reflection of a starting QB in the whole bunch. “Multiple options”….hmmm?
    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Poor Vikings fans.

  15. They might be able to get Bethel-Thompson on the practice squad.

    They could also place Ponder on IR.

    Am I not mistaken that Ponder and Freeman are free agents next year.

    How long is Cassels contract for? The Spielman free agent special is usually 1 year

    Simpson, Jared Allen, Girffin and Robison all free agents. They might want to start re-signing people soon.

  16. I think we all know that what Spielman says and what Spielman thinks are two different things. That’s no a bad thing. There is no benefit to him coming out and trashing Ponder.

  17. In saying this, he insults the intelligence of any knowledgable football fan. Fortunately for him, that eliminates almost all of the Viking fans so he can get away with it.

  18. Who says this??? Just deflect the question instead of stating a poorly constructed PR statement. OBVIOUSLY this move is PRECISELY because of Ponder and is a direct reflection of Ponder’s mediocrity. Especially considering Leslie already stated Freeman wouldn’t start THIS week….there’s an inherent understanding that the statement is heavily nuanced signifying the *following* week he’d start.

  19. Quit sugarcoating it. Ponder is out. Might as well release him now and keep Bethel-Thompson on the roster . At lease he might have a future in this league.

    If Ponder plays another down as a Viking Spielman should be fired.

  20. makes me wonder if the Vikingsa re trying to trade Ponder knowing how much Spielman loves draft picks. but I highly doubt anyone would trade for this bum.

    if you’re going to come out and lie through your teeth, you’d be better off just declining to comment. now when Ponder gets benched or cut, you’ll look like a liar/moron.

  21. If you believe that the Freeman addition is not a reflection on Ponder, I have some land I would like to sell you. It is downwind from a chicken processing plant and next to a landfill. Lots of potential…

  22. If you still have confidence in Ponder as the man, then you need to hand the GM reins over. Otherwise, you need to be honest.

  23. I believe Lawrence Taylor said it best when he said “Gentlemen, which brings me to my next point. Don’t smoke crack.”

  24. I cannot be the only Vikes fan getting frustrated with the gm/coach speak from the mouths of Frazier and Spielman. I think Spielman has done a good job acquiring young talent over the past few years (other than Ponder) but at some point do you not come out and just say that Ponder is not as good a QB as the other two guys on the roster? They’ve coddled him at every step and he plays that way. Timid.

  25. So they paid Freeman $3 million for what? To be the waterboy? Of course it’s a reflection on Ponder…he’s awful and hasn’t made any progress since coming into the league and the Vikings need to find another QB before they waste the rest of AP’s career

  26. This is one of the dumbest statements ever uttered by an NFL GM in the history of the league…

  27. Let him sit. He needs to understand that the division is full of decisive, effective quarterbacks that throw the ball around. Dump passes won’t cut it.

  28. Just act like professionals and say you’re going in another direction. I don’t know why they’re making this so hard on themselves. Meek little cupcake Ponder would gladly accept the backup role. Hell, he’d probably send a lovely, hand-lettered thank you card.

  29. Oh hi honey. This is Trixie, I met her down in Tampa.

    I may date her a bunch. Don’t worry, this isn’t a reflection on you. Love you!

  30. If Ponder was playing like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, we would not be having this discussion…of course it’s a reflection on Ponder

  31. Not a reflection on Ponder, yah right, you just put a fork in Ponder, he’s done! You paid big $ for someone who is worse then him. Freeman’s a joke!!! The Queens will never, ever go to the super bowl without buying a ticket!!!

  32. What else is Spielman going to say? If Ponder does start any more games for the Vikings, which is highly unlikely, Cassel will at least start this upcoming game and Freeman will start once he gets the playbook down. Therefore, I believe Ponder will be brushed aside at some point this season.

  33. If you have faith in your QB you don’t spend $5 million on 2 backups for him. You can lie, I get that it’s your job, but we’re not going to believe you.

  34. Maybe the Vikings just have tremendous confidence in thier assistant Coaches or going on blind faith… All I know is that as a Bucs fan watching him regress each year over the past few years it seemed more likely that “Franchise QB” was more of a nick name than it was truely ever earned…

    His play was poor in Tampa the last few years so he had to be changed regardless of what all contributed… Maybe he will fit better in their system… With 59 games of experience I’m certain his time to prove he is all he thinks he is is diminishing quickly…. Now or never!

  35. Spielman may be the only person not disappointed with Ponder’s play and progression as a quarterback in this his third year. Lack of arm strength, accuracy, and vision of the field are all weaknesses of Ponder. He may need more time on the bench, better coaching or both. He may just not be NFL starting quarterback material.

  36. If Ponder had been playing well before getting hurt, the Vikings would not have signed Freeman. So while it may not be a reflection on Ponder, it is most certainly a reflection of Ponder’s less than stellar performance thus far this season.

    The note about Ponder only completing 59% of his passes in interesting. I believe Freeman’s completion percentage was well below that level.

  37. “In three games this season, Christian Ponder is completing just 59-percent of his passes and has thrown just two touchdowns with five interceptions.

    So.. let me get this straight, bringing in JF with his 45% completion percentage and 2 TDs with 3 INTs is supposed to help?

    Good luck MN fan.

  38. all of this is Spielman-speak for, “Let’s not badmouth Ponder because I’m going to try to get at least a late round pick for him”
    I’m sure Rick is looking up the phone numbers for Jacksonville, Oakland, and Buffalo

  39. This team is starting to become a joke especially w/ the QB situation. Who in there right mind can’t see that Ponder IS NOT a NFL qb. Admit your mistakes and move on!!!!

  40. Yup…..doesn’t change how we see Ponder….he’s still a noodle arm crap stain.

    For reals Chris, do you think anyone buys that garbage? Kinda like the “no intent” to trade Harvin?

    He has a bright future….outside of the NFL.

  41. Thanks Rick, we’re all stupid. Ponder’s stupid, The Media’s is stupid, and we the fans are stupid. If there was no trade offers for freeman what are you hoping to get for Ponder??? Save the BS and cut bait

  42. They are attempting to trade ponder to anyone at this point. They are attempting to raise his value, but it’s not working

  43. Reading the local paper, it has become Clear that they want to trade Ponder….Speilman used the infamous term “no intent”.

  44. Come on, what possible good would it do the Vikings or Ponder to say “well, we signed Freeman because Christian, although a nice guy and hard-worker, just sucks”? If they’d come out and said Percy was the major pain-in-the-rear he really was, would they have netted 3 draft picks? Why trash Ponder’s confidence, why not keep Carolina guessing as who to prepare for this week, and/or why further negate future trade value by giving up on Ponder publicly? The only mistake Spielman has made in this whole process is drafting the guy.

  45. I’m a former Ponder supporter. I don’t think most Viking fans are kidding themselves to the point of thinking we can just plug in Josh Freeman and finish up the season 11-5 or 10-6. This years team has serious issues not at all related to quarterback — like what happened to the defense? That aside, I’ve been done with Ponder since week 2 or 3, I have very little faith in Cassel’s ability to fill in long term, and wouldn’t hesitate to basically gift Freeman the chance to be the starter over both those guys. There isn’t a whole lot to lose at this point — the most confusing part to me is whether or not to be excited about this.

  46. Why do GMs feel the need to spout nonsense like this?

    There are only so many rosters spots on a team. You fill them with players who play positions where you feel you are lacking talent. Everyone knows this.

    If you think your QB situation is fine, you don’t sign another QB just because one is sitting out there. And if you tell an available QB that you’re happy with the QBs you have but you want to bring him in anyway, he doesn’t sign with you. It really is that simple.

    Spielman thinks Freeman might be better than Ponder or Cassel, he told Freeman this, Freeman signed with the Vikings. This is what happened, and really, it would be perfectly fine to admit it.

  47. This is sounding eerily like every Bucs board prior to the Freeman dump. Amazing how many people know exactly what makes an NFL quarterback, how, when, where, why. Probably the same number who are living at home with Mom and Dad and collecting disability benefits.

  48. I’m not a Vikings fan so correct me if I’m wrong but from reading the comments. Ponder sounds a lot like Freeman. Coddled his entire career. Mentally weak, turn over prone.

    Ponder may be the check down king. But wait til you see how Freeman can’t throw anything but the long ball. His mid to short range accuracy is horrid. He has a tendancy to disappear or just play bad during big moments and big games (unless against really bad teams). He can’t lead a receiver with the ball to save his life and often puts them in bad positions to take nasty hits.

    Good luck with that the rest of the NFC N thanks you.

  49. When you bring in a guy who declared he still wants to be a started, then YES, its definitely a reflection on Ponder.

  50. This is the perfect season to start 1-3 because this year 9-7 or 8-8 is going to make the wild card and I wouldn’t be shocked if 7-9 wins the NFC East.

  51. Yes not a reflection on Ponder, we just like to pay every backup $3 million a year just because. The best thing the Vikings can do is trade AP, do him a favor and get 2 first round picks for him or more if possible and send him to a contender.

  52. monctonvike says:Oct 8, 2013 6:39 AM

    Am I not mistaken that Ponder and Freeman are free agents next year.

    How long is Cassels contract for? The Spielman free agent special is usually 1 year

    Freeman is a free agent after this year. The Vikings could franchise him but that would cost over $15 million.

    Cassel has a player option on his contract, so he could choose to leave if he wants to.

    Ponder has a year left on his deal.

    I don’t expect Freeman is going to light it up so I don’t think the Vikings are going to be willing to give him the long-term deal he’s going to want. Cassel now knows that he isn’t going to be the long-term starter here, especially when they draft a QB in the first round, so he’s probably going to be gone. As unbelievable as it seems now, Ponder may be the only one of these three who will be on the team next year.

  53. Some of the comments are ridiculous. Of course it’s a reflection on Ponder, EVERYONE know that, but why would Spielman come out and say it? It’s a business! People act like his comments are an embarrassment when any other GM would say the exact same thing. As for Freeman, completion percentage is an issue, but through week 14 last year he had 25 TD and 8 INT. Don’t act like he’s light years removed from any type of solid play. He regressed with a bad coach and a bad scheme. I wish people could see this for what it is, a zero risk HIGH reward play for Minnesota. Ponder isn’t the answer and Cassell is nothing more than a career backup. Freeman is a 25 year old former Pro Bowl QB who, at the very least, has the ability to stretch the field. This will work out 1 of 3 ways, none of which hurt the Vikings.

    1) Freeman plays the rest of the season, shows he is the quarterback that’s been on the field for the last 8 games or so, gets let go and finds a backup job somewhere.

    2) Freeman plays, better than Ponder but still not all that great, sticks around in MN for a year or two longer so they can groom someone while still having a somewhat competent QB at the helm.

    3) Freeman plays, lights it up and leads the Vikings to the playoffs. He gets paid and maybe, just maybe, the Vikings have finally found a long term answer.

    My money is on scenario two, which wouldn’t be awful, but you just never know.

  54. Life long Vikings fan here. I’m sick n tired of all this BS from management , admit your mistake and renew some faith in your fanbase. We are tired of hearing how great Plunder is. Well hes not. Admit you blew a 1st round pick and get on with it.

  55. Everyone knows Ponder is a busts. All Viking fans look to be dying for a change. Speilman reached big time and still doesn’t want to admit it.

    Freeman is probably in the best opportunity for success. A stout defense, decent o-line and best running back in football. The media and Bucs have tried to bury the guy but his former coaches and players that have talked have been behind him.

  56. Nah, of course it’s not a reflection on Ponder b/c Ponder sucks.

    How can you tell that Spielman lied when he said it? His lips moved.

  57. hey if we can get a first, third, and seventh round pick for ponder….. spielman can say what he wants.

  58. If he was real interested in putting out his best 53 maybe he should look at playing Patterson more and going after defensive players like at LB and DB. Just my two cents.

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