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After Ponder’s Debut, Rookie’s Popularity Skyrocketing

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Christian Ponder may have lost his first game as a starter, but he sure won over the fans.

“It was a loss,” said Misty Saltzman of Moorhead. “But it was a Vikings success.”

He provided a ray of hope that lit up the Vikings Locker Room Store at the Mall of America.

“Is their season going to be saved by Christian Ponder?” said Jaymie Bowditch, a Vikings fan in town from Missoula, Montana to see the game with his son Grant. “No, but it gives us hope.”

It certainly sparked a run on Ponder jerseys, which the store is trying to restock at quickly as possible.

“I’d say probably a good 60 to 75 percent of the people who have walked through have been going Ponder, Ponder, Ponder,” said store manager Michael Cobb.

It’s the same story everywhere — from Chad Hartman’s show on WCCO Radio to the lunch tables at Manny’s Steakhouse — everybody’s talking about Ponder.

“He seems like he’s in command of the offense,” said Darin Erhardt of Maple Grove. “Didn’t seem like he panicked at all.”

“He definitely seemed to have a presence,” responded James Puttin of Rogers. “Players seemed to respond to what he’s trying to do.”

Although that’s not the kind of presence that interested one Packer backer.

“He’s a good looking guy,” said Tracie Kunz. “He’s a good looking dude. I’ll give him that.”

In fact, with Ponder set to play celebrity waiter at the Manny’s on Monday night, Kunz had a prediction.

“They’ll be clamoring for his sections,” she laughed.

Ponder and eight of his teammates will wait tables to raise money for Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation.  Tickets to the event cost $350 apiece.

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