Anatomy of a Play: Ponder this…

Anatomy of a Play, Inside the Game, Minnesota Vikings

Since 1962, the Minnesota Vikings have drafted three quarterbacks in the first round.  Tommy Kramer in 1977, Daunte Culpepper in 1999, and Christian Ponder in 2011.

In 1979, Kramer was faced with the unenviable task of replacing a legend, following the retirement of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.  “Two Minute Tommy” quickly made a name for himself with his late-game heroics, and still ranks second to Tarkenton on the Vikings all-time passing yards list.

Culpepper enjoyed short-lived success in the Twin Cities.  From 2000-2005, Culpepper was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL.  In 2004, he threw for 4,717 yards, which at the time was the fifth-highest single-season total in NFL history.  The following year, a serious knee injury cut short his Vikings career.

Aside from those few early round draft choices, Minnesota has primarily been a home to veteran quarterbacks looking for a second, third, or fourth chance.  Through the revolving door came Hall of Famers, Super Bowl winners, League MVPs, and Brooks Bollinger.

Some notable Vikings QBs:

Donovan McNabb
Brett Favre
Brad Johnson
Randall Cunningham
Warren Moon
Jim McMahon
Rich Gannon

Tommy Kramer and Vikings head coach, Les Steckel (AP)

While they boast some impressive career resumes, none was able to reach the ultimate goal of winning the Lombardi Trophy while donning the Purple & Gold.

Sure, Kramer and Culpepper had solid NFL careers, but neither can be called the indelible face of a franchise.  Moon, Cunningham, and Favre all rocked the Metrodome crowd, but are associated with greater success elsewhere and post-season disappointment in Minnesota.

Christian Ponder (AP)

So, in week 6, the Vikings decided now was the time to go out with the old and in with the new,  replacing the aging Donovan McNabb with rookie Christian Ponder.  So far, Ponder has shown promise, leaving Vikings fans to wonder if he is the long sought after quarterback that can lead them to a World Championship.

It remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, let alone a Super Bowl hero, but it appears he has some athletic ability.  And he’s no dummy.   In 2010, he was the only FBS player to earn his MBA before his senior season.

Editor’s Note: Brian Baldinger’s “Anatomy of the Play” has been posted above!

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