Schnepf: Vikings fans wanted a QB, but not Ponder

It wasn't an earthquake tremor that hit the Upper Midwest at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday.

Kevin Schnepf

It wasn't an earthquake tremor that hit the Upper Midwest at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday.

Nor was it thunder or the roar of a tornado.

No, the deafening groan heard across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota came from Minnesota Vikings fans the very instant their beloved purple announced their first-round pick in the NFL Draft.

"With the 12th pick of the NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Christian Ponder," announced NFL commissioner Roger Goodell - who up until that point of the evening was the most unpopular man of the draft.

When Goodell stepped onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the NFL fanatics who were there in person booed the man they felt was responsible for the recent lockout.


Those boos probably seemed pale in comparison to the round of heckling Vikings fans were directing towards Vikings director of player personnel Rick Spielman.

Christian Ponder? Are you kidding?

Yes, Vikings fans were clamoring for a quarterback. But Ponder? What about Ryan Mallet and Andy Dalton - quarterbacks who received much more pre-draft fanfare than Ponder, who by the way, is a three-year starter from Florida State and has a good head on his shoulders.

He'll need more than a good head to become an immediate impact for the Vikings - who currently have Joe Webb, Tarvaris Jackson and Rhett Bomar as their only quarterbacks.

For the love of Tommy Kramer and Daunte Culpepper - please start wooing veteran quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb, Kyle Orton, Kevin Kolb or Vince Young.

It's understandable Thursday's selection left Vikings fans in shock. Kramer and Culpepper are the only two quarterbacks the Vikings had ever picked in the first round before Thursday night.

Among what could be considered the Vikings "great" 17 first draft picks, five have been defensive linemen, four running backs, three offensive linemen, two wide receivers, one linebacker and one defensive back.

So why didn't the Vikings pick defensive linemen like Nick Fairley, Cameron Jordan, Da'Quan Bowers or Robert Quinn? Why not pick cornerback Prince Amukamara?


The Vikings do have more needs than quarterback. And a guy like Ponder - you would think - could've been available for the Vikings in the second round.

Let's just hope the Vikings pick up a veteran quarterback so they can groom Ponder.

It's been done before. It took Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady two years from the time they were drafted until they reached a Super Bowl.

But more than likely, Vikings fans will need to be more patient.

Ponder this (pardon the pun): The average time it takes for a quarterback to be groomed into a Super Bowl champion is eight years. It took a 39-year-old John Elway 15 years to win his first Super Bowl.

Who knows? Maybe Ponder will become the quarterback that makes every Vikings' fan forget about Fran Tarkenton or Brett Favre.

But when his name was announced Thursday night, it certainly wasn't the reaction Vikings fans had when they heard these first-round names: Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Kevin Williams, Bryant McKinnie, Randy Moss and Robert Smith - all first-round picks in the last 18 years who turned out to be pretty good.

I guess there is truth in the old adage: be careful what you wish for?


Yes, Vikings fans were wishing for a quarterback.

But Christian Ponder?

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549


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