CLEVELAND - Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman thinks general manager Rick Spielman "better get it right this time" with the team's first-round pick, considering 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder hasn't lived up to expectations.
The Vikings hold the No. 8 pick in Thursday's first round, and it's expected the club will add a signal caller to groom behind veteran Matt Cassel.
"He better get it right this time because he missed it on Christian," Doleman said. "If a guy is a fifth-year player and he looks like a fourth-year player, and he looks the same as a third-year player, he ain't getting no better. He's topped out. We went through so many different quarterbacks."
The Vikings declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Ponder's contract before Saturday's midnight deadline, which means that after 2014 he'll be a free agent. The option on Ponder's contract would have been guaranteed only against injury until the start of the 2015 season.
But Ponder's career thus far has been largely disappointing. In three seasons with the Vikings, Ponder has posted a record of 14-20-1 as a starting quarterback, throwing for 38 touchdowns and 34 interceptions while generating a passer rating of 77.3.
What troubles many Vikings fans is that the team is struggling while superstar running back Adrian Peterson, who turned 29 in March, isn't getting any younger.
"The sad part about it is we wasted the opportunity with one of the league's premier running backs," Doleman said. "OK, let's just not even say we need to have a Peyton Manning at the quarterback position. Give me a good guy because I don't believe we need a $100 million quarterback to make this team win. I would make sure the guy I get can make all the throws, makes good football decisions, not someone who has a great IQ, and can't make football decisions out there on the field. I'm looking for a football player at the quarterback position."
Doleman said he's not sure if Peterson will get antsy and want to be on a team ready to win a Super Bowl.
"Don't put him in a Barry Sanders situation," Doleman said, referring to the Detroit Lions Hall of Famer who is considered one of the greatest players never to reach a Super Bowl. "That's not fair, and the fan base deserves more. You've got a job. Do the job. I think too much information [before the draft] is taken in and clouds everyone's vision. Let me find a football player that is a quarterback; a football player, and I keep using that word. Let him play football.
"Let me tell you something, Brett Favre didn't score off the charts. There are a lot of great guys who don't score off the charts. Tom Brady didn't score off the charts, but I guarantee both are Hall of Fame players."