Vikings Take QB Christian Ponder With 12th Overall Pick

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings had gone 12 years without taking a quarterback in the first round of the draft.

With Brett Favre back to retirement, NFL free agency not yet begun and no other proven options on the roster, the Vikings grabbed gritty Christian Ponder from Florida State with the 12th overall pick on Thursday night.

Fans gathered at a draft party inside the team’s practice facility groaned when Washington’s Jake Locker went with the eighth pick to the Tennessee Titans and again when Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert was gone at No. 10 after Jacksonville traded up.

They booed when Ponder’s name was announced, the fourth quarterback taken in this quarterback-deep draft, apparently convinced his value didn’t match the slot. But Vikings vice president for player personnel Rick Spielman said the team likes Ponder’s poise, intelligence and accuracy, and he said the asking price was too high for them to trade up and get Gabbert before the Jaguars.

“The thing we went back and forth on was, ‘When are you going to get another chance to swing?’ If Ponder was gone, would we get another opportunity to take a quarterback in this draft?” Spielman said. “We didn’t want to take that risk.”

The Vikings also considered trading down, but they simply worried about waiting too long to take a player at the position they arguably needed the most this season.

“Quarterback was a huge need for us,” Spielman said. “Everybody knows that.”

Ponder is only the third quarterback the Vikings have drafted in the first round in their 51-year history, joining Tommy Kramer in 1977 and Daunte Culpepper in 1999. Culpepper was a multiyear Pro Bowl pick, but ever since he tore up his knee during a scramble in a game in 2005 the Vikings have been piecing together the game’s most critical position.

Brad Johnson. Tarvaris Jackson. Kelly Holcomb. Brooks Bollinger. Gus Frerotte. And Favre, whose sensational, age-defying 2009 season that brought them within four points of the Super Bowl was followed by an epic collapse by the NFL’s all-time leading passer and the entire team. Heck, even the stadium’s roof fell down, in that heavy snowstorm last December.

The Vikings raved about the smarts that they believe Ponder, who has his master’s degree in business administration, will bring to the position. He played in a pro-style offense with the Seminoles that’s similar to what the Vikings will run under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Ponder expressed confidence about his ability to quickly pick up the system.

“I think I’ll be really prepared,” he said.

The downsides to Ponder, according to most draft analysts, are past injuries and perhaps arm strength. But Ponder said he felt he proved his health is not a concern, recovering from a forearm problem with a fluid buildup and finishing his senior season strong. His showing at the Senior Bowl helped push his stock higher, and a visit with Spielman, Musgrave and head coach Leslie Frazier during his on-campus workout gave Vikings leaders plenty to consider.

“We all came away from that visit going, ‘Man, if that guy’s there, it would be hard to pass him up,”‘ Frazier said.

Ponder joked that he’ll be all right with a left tackle (Bryant McKinnie) and a wide receiver (Percy Harvin) who came from Florida State’s two biggest rivals, Miami and Florida, respectively. He sounded polished and cordial, eager to embrace his role and responsibilities.

“I dealt with being the face of Florida State and handling the pressure there,” Ponder said. “Obviously it’s a whole ‘nother level in the NFL, but I don’t think anyone else puts as much pressure on me as I do on myself. I’m a perfectionist. … No one’s expectations exceed mine.”

With the lockout lifted by a court ruling, for now, players will be welcome to arrive at Winter Park on Friday for workouts, playbooks and conversations with coaches. Frazier said he’s putting together a schedule for offseason practices, known as organized team activities, and the mandatory minicamps. Ponder was scheduled to travel to Minnesota on Friday to get his NFL career started.

As a first-time head coach, Frazier’s term — however long it lasts — will likely be tied to the success or failure of Ponder in this coach- and quarterback-driven league.

“That may happen, but I feel good about it,” Frazier said. “That’s one of the reasons I endorsed this pick, so that’s not a problem for me. I’m looking forward to Christian being our quarterback and doing a great job for us for a long time to come.”

For live 2011 NFL Draft coverage, click here.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Sofia

    I like it. QB’s are a gamble but this guy is smart, mobile, and quick release. Time will tell.

    • serious????

      quick release??? compared to the qb at st.paul como… horrible arm strength, horrible technique, horrible health…

  • Northern one

    Could of had Mallet. Damn it.

    • v

      Mallet? The guy’s I.Q. is lower than his shoe size.

  • K.

    Vikings still suck and Ponder will like the weather better in LA.

    • captainobvious

      we play in a dome, living tree stump

  • Chuck Farley

    How do they constantly take second round players in the first round and try to sell them as first round picks? This is a TERRIBLE first round pick, they could have gotten him in the second round.

    • Epirus

      You mean like Randy Moss? Kevin Williams? Adrian Peterson? Percy Harvin? If you look at most football team’s draft picks in the last decade or so you will see hits and misses in their first round picks but the Vikings have definitely had some great first round picks. You are just a wet blanket, a negative Nancy. Calm down. Ponder is actually the type of QB that can thrive in the NFL. He is intelligent and makes good decisions which is more important in the NFL than college. Look at the top QBs in the NFL and you will see this as a common characteristic. Tom Brady?

      • ponder is not brady

        andy dalton is 10x more “football” intelligent and 100X more talented than ponder…

        • Epirus

          You clearly know nothing about the difference between college football and the NFL.

        • Brad Childress

          He has his MBA, so he must be more intelligent than T-Jack, who can’t even speak intelligent English!

          • Alex V

            Don’t you mean “speak English intelligently”? :D

    • RICHIE

      People like you give sport fans a bad name. Seriously if you know who a second round pick is why aren’t you an NFL executive? Instead Chuck by god Farley you are posting on

  • Bill T.

    Ponder is a great quarterback, Minnesota will be very happy they picked him.

  • Dan Sampsel

    LA still sucks and and will no matter WHICH team plays there…..

  • Tim H.

    Great Pick. It’s refreshing that the first two traits talked about with Ponder is his intelligence (Master’s in Business completed by his Junior season!) and his accuracy in short/medium passes.

    Like everyone else, I’m sick of physical freaks (6’5″, rocket arm, 4.3 40-yd dash, “athletic” QB) who have nothing upstairs and can’t hit a wide open guy 15 yards away (but they throw a 60 yard incompletion with a lovely arc).

    Give the guy a chance and don’t judge him until a few years from now. Of course by then everyone will be saying they knew he’d be great.

    Besides, this is the same front office that took AP and Harvin when others called it a “reach”.

    The only downside? The State of Minnesota is 0-1 drafting guys named Christian.

  • Bob

    This guy sucks , the Vikings blow goats!

    • Lisa

      There really should be an intelligence test, required before being able to post on this site, so people like “Bob” would not be able to post garbage like they do!

      • Realist

        Lisa…are you menstrating?

    • Funny Bob

      They’ll be blowing goats on the red carpet in LA soon!

    • v

      Bob rubs his hands together… logs in… massages his temples…. cracks his knuckles… and WOW, floors us all with his eloquent and intelligent analysis.

  • hello 1-15 2011 season

    only in mn can GMs/VPs like mchale and spielman can have jobs… terrible…

    • rgledz

      Ya, how can the guy who drafted 2 of the last 4 offensive rookies of the year still have a job…….you’re an idiot

    • Indeed.

      atleast MN isn’t Oakland….

  • Mary Ann

    Let’s think positively that Minnesota made the right choice!!

  • Peter

    He reminds me of a young Peyton Manning. So, I’m happy with their pick but we need to look to bring in some young guns for the D-Line and CB’s for the DEF.

  • Sandy

    Who cares. Move them all to California. NO new statium. No support for Billionaires. Hope they lose every game

    • If you hate the Vikings, move elsewhere or shut up.

      Go find another article, troll. Why does this site attract all the “derp move dem to LA lulz” idiots? YOU can move to California. I don’t think anyone will miss you.

      • Vikes=Laughing Stock of the NFL!!!

        Just because you do not like the Vikings means you have to move or shut up?? WHY?? Oh, so ONLY Viking fans are allowed to voice their opinion? Do you seriously believe every person who lives in every NFL city cheers for that particular team?? Every one who lives in Green Bay cheers for the Packers, in Miami….the Dolphins, etc, etc..? What difference does it make if you do like the Vikings or don’t like them? You only want to hear what you want to hear. How nice. Why does this site attract all the “keep the Vikings here” idiots?? Good God, they are 0-4 in Super Bowls, the “boat ride,” the “whizzinator,” 41-0 to the Giants, “Take a knee,'” and the Herschel Walker trade. What, exactly, IS there to like anyway?? Just move already!!!

        • sush

          Ummm. This is a page about the Vikings, so , it makes sense that Viking fans come on here and talk about what they are doing. What doesn’t make sense is non-Viking fans coming on here to bash them and their fans. If you don’t like the Vikes, why do you care enough to click on this page and write posts? Does your life suck that much. You’re right, not everyone in every city like that particular city’s team. So, you know what those people do? They go to read and write posts on their favorite team’s page and don’t bother with stuff they don’t like. So go somewhere else, hater. Skol Vikings!!! – from a true Viking fan, even through the many, many hard times.

          • If you hate the Vikings, move elsewhere or shut up.

            The NFL has not been around that long in the grand scheme of things. There are still teams who haven’t even been to a Super Bowl. The Vikings will eventually win one, and I will continue to cheer them on even if they are 0-16 every year until I die. And you know what? Cheering them on through the hard times only makes it that much better when they have considerable amounts of success.

            Like already said, this is a page about the Vikings first round draft pick. Why are people who hate the Vikings here? Commenting negatively on something you hate in order to generate reaction is called trolling and that’s what idiots like you do.

            Yes, not everyone who lives in every NFL city cheers for that team, but they shut up and read about their favorite team instead of trolling articles for other teams saying asinine things like “lulz move to LA viqueens”.

            You’re probably just a bandwagon fan anyway. Let me guess – you’re a Packers fan now, but before you were a Saints fan, Steelers fan, Giants fan, etc.

            • Don't Worry, Be Happy!!!

     trolls like the Lions and Browns. Saints, Giants??? Not in this lifetime. Steelers or Packers?? Perhaps, I’ll have to gather the troll elders to get a consensus on that (they are the best run organizations in the NFL after all). Odds are now that the Lions will win a Super Bowl before Minnesota. NO??? Bet you NEVER thought you would see the Saints win one either!! Besides, we failed to see the sign saying only Viking fans are allowed to comment. Obviously it’s gets under your skin, and that’s a good thing. You Viking fans need to learn how to better deal with sarcasm.

          • Skol?? What the??

            What the hell does “Skol” mean anyway?? Oh, and you ONLY used the word “many” two times in describing the hard times. Try using it about a couple hundred thousand more times there sparky!!!

            • sush

              If you don’t know what “skol, Vikings” means, you are absolutely on the wrong page. Go to wikipedia and look it up… Also, what’s up with calling me Sparky?? Don’t call me your wife’s name anymore, we don’t know each other that well.

        • uralivingdisappointment

          Why does your wife stay with you? She doesn’t like u either.

          • The Horror!!!

            Did you come up with that ALL by yourself?? Besides…who says I’m a male???

            • successNOT

              Your right no1 has any idea what you are, male or female no clue

              • Keen Sense of Smell

                SILENCE chatter monkey!!! I smell feces, bad decisions, as well as awful grammar, and all are coming from you!!!

        • dan

          Well arnt you an angry little man

    • North one

      Bite it, Sandy. YES to new stadium, YES to support for the Vikings, and YOU move to LA, and when the big one hits there, to quote Tool, “see you in Arizona Bay”. I just don’t see why the Vikes didn’t tale Amukamura at 12 and the move back in late to the first round or early second to take Ponder since he would have been available. Or better yet, take Mallet or Dalton.

      • Use Your OWN Money!!!

        Yeah, right…California is going to fall off into the ocean. Sure, and black helicopters operated by the Government come in the night and take away the unsuspecting, and if you play Judas Priest records backwards, you are destined to commit suicide or go on a killing spree (depending on the song of course). If you want a stadium, YOU pay for it. Why don’t other businesses ask for public money to operate (and NOT in the form of stocks or bonds)??

        • North one

          Wow, you’re a wanker. That rant made no sense. What do helicopters and Judas Priest have anything to do with what I wrote? And, other businesses DO ask for public money. Museums, colleges, zoos, PBS, banks, and so on… Also, they can use my own money. I want all the taxes that I’ve paid to go toward it. Too bad I can’t choose. “Painkiller” by Judas Priest is an awesome song by the way. Guess I’ll go and listen to it backwards and see what happens.

          • Huh???

            Because the idea that California will fall off into the ocean is a”myth.” Just as the other things are. In the 1990’s during the Clinton administration, conspiracy theorists (aka: right wing nut jobs) claimed that black helicopters would come in the night and take away the unsuspecting during a military takeover of the country. Also, Judas Priest was accused of using subliminal messages in their music due to the fact that 2 kids committed suicide, and one killed his parents after listening to one of their songs (unfortunately). It was brought to court, which eventually found the group not guilty. The “businesses” you mentioned, are non-profit organizations. Banks (Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, etc..) issue stocks…unless you are including the ridiculous bailouts.

            • North one

              Seems you’re the conspiracy person since you know all about that stuff. I was just trash talking to a person who bought up the stadium issue on a page about the draft. Also, those businesses need money to run and charge money from consumers. But, alas. Let’s not talk about this crap on this page that’s about Ponder and the Vikes reaching for him at that pick. I am glad to see they picked up the best tight end in the draft in Rudolph.

    • successNOT

      sandy ur a gross overweight nothing thks 4 ur comment it matters. lol

      • Speaking of...

        successNOT…We know why God gave you a mouth, but why he gave you vocal cords is any one’s guess. SILENCE!!!

  • karma

    NEWSFLASH……….Favre is coming out of retirement, Ponder will be the understudy, and Joe Webb is the new center in the O-line.

    • B


  • Ven

    Horrible pick…Ponder would’ve been there R2, maybe even R3….

  • Ulysses McShayne

    I’m a Florida State fan, & you guys got the worse choice possible.! Whats wrong with the water there… Jerry Krill? McHale? and now Ponder? Seriously.. No thought process in play in MN.

  • Chuck Ashley

    I was there tonight & I still don’t get it??? You had a shutdown corner just sitting there & Pass & if you were going for a QB WHY not Dalton??? While coach Frasier did his best to encourage us regarding this pick & our season I can honestly tell ya that there were Far more doubters than those happy & sold on the pick-time will tell but I’m still pondering Ponder

  • Lynn

    Let’s give the guy a chance. Maybe he’ll surprise everyone. It can happen someday–can’t it?


    He sucks balls. He will be out after 1 year, MARK MY WORD!! GO PACKS!!!!

    • rgledz

      Go Packs???? How much paint thinner have you consumed tonight? Are there multiple Packs???

    • Packer Sucks

      Go packs? Go away you suck packer fans are idiots.

  • Ferris Lind

    The Vikes blew it . How can anyone come on here and actually say they made a great choice considering 4 hours ago nobody knew this kid . The Vikings SUCK .


    • Justin

      ferris lind:

      funny you should ask why people would come on and support the pick. why would YOU come on here and bash the pick when the season hasn’t been played out? who’s to say he’s going to be horrible? And btw if you follow the nfl at all you would have known who he is.

    • Packer Suck

      PACKERSs….keep silence your stupid comments are from idiots.

  • Herb

    Great quarterbacks are mostly about the magic that occurs when the right guys are together on the team, Can he effectively use his style in conjunction with the many talents and styles of his team mates Too many factors to make the call.

    I will wait to see him interact with the other players. That is what is so beautiful about he sport. Right day+ right guys+ right attitude = Magic.

    That “right” combination can happen in any game. Isn’t that why most sports fans watch, why most players play . . . for the MGIC?.

    Let’s just see how Ponder comes out of the gate with his new team mates.

  • Herb

    That would be . . . for the MAGIC

  • captainobvious

    Like any of u fools know what will happen, your gas station clerks, garbage men, laborers and so on what tje fok do you know, not a thing

  • Webb

    I am going to ponder the pick of Ponder. Go Vikes!

  • John Sherman

    I think we have seen enough of Florida players around here,the vikes add another chapter of the culture of lossing around here and the continuim of bad management does too.

  • Realist

    It is because he is intelligent and white that all these people hate him….hmmmm, that is a hate crime…oh that is right, he is a honky and for whatever reason that doesn’t fall within the definition of “Hate Crime”….BRUUUHAHAHAHAHAHA…The MIGHTY OZ HAS SPOKEN!

    And The Vikes can leave or stay just stay away from my money and leave my taxes alone.

    • captainobvious

      Well im sure if the vikes need 50cents they’ll go after your money, otherwise poorly paid loser in life i think your safe

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