Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Monday, June 13, 2011
Pondering a veteran starter in Minnesota?

By Kevin Seifert

Did we take an inordinate leap of faith recently when we discussed Christian Ponder's seemingly inevitable status as the Minnesota Vikings' 2011 starting quarterback?

Lockout or not, I've thought the Vikings would do everything they could to get Ponder on the field immediately. Even if he didn't earn the Week 1 job, it seems hard to imagine the Vikings could lure a veteran starter to fulfill the shortest of short-term jobs.

Regardless, the names of current Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb and Denver Broncos starter Kyle Orton continue to be floated in the national media. Here are two recent examples:

ESPN.com's Adam Schefter: : "For starters, McNabb is no cinch to wind up in Minnesota. The Vikings could explore a trade for him, but it's far from a certainty that they would go in that direction. Minnesota still could decide to pursue another veteran quarterback, maybe a Kyle Orton. But they also invested a lot in Christian Ponder. Minnesota expects him to be its long-term answer. So it's going to take the right type of veteran quarterback to bring in -- one that's good enough to help this team now, yet understanding enough to know he might not have much of a future with the team."

McNabb
McNabb
NFL.com's Jason La Canfora: "I have heard all the muttering about Ponder being the starter for Week 1, but I don't buy it. ... And this is a team with playoff hopes, trying to land a new stadium and take advantage of some aging key players? Yeah, I don't buy Ponder doing anything but holding a clipboard. I don't care if the Vikings can't land Donovan McNabb until 24 hours before the regular season opens ... I'd still say he gets the start."

Stranger things have happened, but the days of a highly-drafted quarterback spending his rookie season on the sideline are all but over. The Vikings probably need a veteran backup quarterback, but should they spend time pursuing and preparing a potential starter with Ponder's inevitable ascension around the corner? I'm not sure about that.