There is room for debate over the biggest shock of the first round of the NFL Draft, but Christian Ponder’s name definitely belongs in the discussion. The Florida State prospect was thought of as a potential first-round pick, but also one that might have fallen to the second day. Instead, the Minnesota Vikings took Ponder with the No. 12 overall pick, making him the fourth quarterback taken in the first 12 picks.
The Vikings obviously had their question marks at quarterback, with Brett Favre’s career seemingly truly coming to an end. But there are still plenty of doubts those questions were answered Thursday night. Most analysts had a hard time believing so when discussing the pick throughout the course of the rest of the draft.
Ponder posted decent numbers at Florida State in terms of completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio, but also left many concerned about his performance in crunch time and his durability. Those questions will now come with him to the next level.
Christian Ponder joined KFAN in Minneapolis with Paul Allen to discuss meeting with the Vikings before the draft, the offensive weapons surrounding him in Minnesota, if he was surprised he went so early, whether he would like to start from Week 1 and his redeeming traits.
What kind of feel did he get from the Minnesota Vikings before the draft?:
“They came and did a private workout with me down in Tallahassee and we went to dinner the night before and I thought it went really well. I sat down with a board and drew plays up and watched some film and talked about Minnesota’s offense and went out and threw a little bit. … It was cool because a lot of stuff that Minnesota [does] on offense is very similar to what we did at Florida State.”
On the weapons he’ll have around him:
“It’s unbelievable. The talent that’s on this team is ridiculous and I’m looking forward to being with these guys and being a good teammate. They’re definitely going to make my job a lot easier when you have so much talent around you.”
Was he as surprised as other folks that he went so high at the No. 12 overall pick?:
“We had talked about it before that it could be a possibility. I had heard going into the process that I could be anywhere from the eighth pick to the early second round. With how crazy the draft is, you really have no idea. I’m just excited it came this way.”
If it was up to him, would he be the starter in Week 1?:
“I’m totally going to prepare as I’m the starter. I don’t know what my role’s going to be come this season, but whether they’re bringing in a veteran and I have to sit back or I get to start from Day One, I’m going to be prepared for whatever that role is. I’m just excited about it. I’m excited to get here and talk to the coaches about what’s going to happen. … I’m going to work my butt off to be prepared for whatever that role is.”
Is he ready for a vacation like Cam Newton or does he want to get to work?:
“I’m ready to get to work. I’ve been missing football. Obviously this is a crazy process, the whole pre-draft process, and I’m ready to get on the field and start learning my new offense and get to know my teammates and get us prepared for the season. This is a dream come true for me.”
What are the best traits that he’ll bring to Minnesota?:
“Number one is I’m such a competitor that I’m going to prepare myself and I’m going to work hard to be the best. I think that’s what’s really going to set me apart, but I think I have all the tools to be a good quarterback — the accuracy, the decision-making, the athleticism. But, again, it really goes back to the hard work and the time that I’m going to put in.”
Does he have any concerns about his arm strength posing a problem at the NFL level?:
“No, no concerns at all.”
Listen to Christian Ponder on KFAN in Minneapolis here (Interview begins at 30:30)