By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – At first, the people chanted for quarterback Christian Ponder. They wanted him to replace Donovan McNabb as a rookie, but did he play too soon for his own good?

No, Ponder says.

“I learned a lot from that first year,” he said, “and I’m glad I got the opportunity to get out there and play.”

What Ponder knows now is that the NFL is a results league. So if you’re a quarterback, you’d better produce wins.

“We went 3-13 my first year … it’s not good enough,” Ponder said. “Teams expect to go to the playoffs every year.”

So he now takes a reduced number of reps. Apparently, he’s in the good stead of a coaching staff that seems content without him as a factor, but gives him respect.

“He’s got a good arm,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “He throws the ball beautifully … he just didn’t make as many plays during the OTAs that some other guys did.”

But what might have matured Ponder more these days is what happened just before training camp. His wife, Samantha, gave birth to their first daughter.

“It definitely brings a new perspective on things,” Ponder said. “When football is your whole world and something like this happens, you get crushed, but when you go home to a smiling daughter and wife, it definitely helps.”

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