The Minnesota Vikings selected Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the NFL draft. The Florida State quarterback had been rocketing up draft boards thanks to excellent workouts and his mental makeup.
Ponder is likely the smartest player in the NFL draft. He has excellent mobility at 6'2" 222 pounds. He recorded the best agility shuttle time at Florida State in 2009. Ponder has an average NFL arm (think Matt Hassleback), but is quite accurate and throws with good anticipation. He is perfect for the West Coast offense of the Vikings and playing indoors should help.
Ponder, who earned his masters degree after his junior year, has a really high football IQ. Jimbo Fisher put an incredible amount of football responsibility on Ponder and Ponder responded quite well when healthy. His progression from 2008 when Florida State had the youngest offensive line in the entire country to 2010 was pretty remarkable to watch. FSU ran a pro-style system and Ponder was asked to audible, call protections, hots, etc. Unlike the spread guys in the draft, he's done everything he'll be asked to do in the NFL.
Jimbo Fisher on Ponder and the Vikings (From Jim Lamar's twitter)
Fisher said he predicted today that it would be the Vikings. 'They fell in love w/ his ability to understand protections & make reads.'
Fisher on @cponder7 & what Vikings liked: 'Consistency, athleticism and accuracy. People underestimate his arm, but he's got a great arm.'
Fisher on @cponder7: 'He's what is right about college sports. Great student. Great person, Great competitor & great player.'
We know Ponder has a good college arm, but it's just an average NFL arm. Other than that, though Fisher is right on here.
Injury has been a concern with Ponder. He tore his shoulder in 2009 and in 2010 he suffered fasciatis int he forearm. It was reported that he had a bursa sack issue, but that was not accurate. The fasciatis injury presented itself as a bursa issue.
Because of Ponder's experience in a pro-style offense, his substantial college starting experience, and his maturity, he is likely the QB who is most ready to start. No, Ponder isn't like to light the world on fire, but he can be a good, consistent NFL starter.
Minnesota is an excellent fit for Ponder as they won't ask him to throw 40 times per game. Instead, he'll be asked to make smart decisions, hand the ball to Adrian Peterson, and run a no-huddle, west coast offense. The Vikings wanted accuracy, mobility, and maturity. That's what they got.