Christian Ponder on Percy Harvin: “Those are Tough Shoes to Fill and We Don’t Want to Fill Them”

February 18, 2013 – 7:45 am by Brad Gagnon

The Minnesota Vikings took a big, unexpected leap forward in 2012. And while MVP Adrian Peterson was the key to a playoff season, young quarterback Christian Ponder also found a groove, especially late in the year. Ponder, though, admits he still has plenty of room to improve. That’ll be an easier process if he doesn’t lose top receiver Percy Harvin this offseason.

Christian Ponder joined Paul Allen on KFAN in Minneapolis to discuss improvements for 2013, what he got better at in 2012, the Percy Harvin situation, his relationship with Harvin and the great rookie season left tackle Matt Kalil put together. Finally, he touched on his experience at the NFL Scouting Combine a few years ago.

On wanting to further improve their completion percentage on first and second down in 2013:

“That’s going to be a point of emphasis, to consistently do that through 16 games next year. And that’s just for the regular season, and then postseason we’ll worry about that. But there’s obviously a ton of other things that we’re probably going to focus on — I think turnovers will be one as well — but I think, again, this year [the goal is] going to be 75 percent on first and second down.”

On his improved play in 2012:

“I feel like I was just a lot more patient in distributing the ball and understanding where to go with it. And I think that’s what really helped and obviously when Adrian does the things that he did in the backfield, things just seem to come together and you do well on offense.”

On wanting Percy Harvin to return:

“Obviously we want Percy back. He’s a tremendous player and he’s a Viking. And those are tough shoes to fill and we don’t want to fill them. He’s a heck of a player and a heck of a part of this offense and this team in general. Of course we want him back.”

On if he and Harvin have a good relationship:

“Yeah … during the offseason last year [we] spent some extra time together and we had conversations, and he was great for me. He was like, ‘If you’re ever watching film, shoot me a text or call me and tell me I need to be watching this.’  Yeah, we had a good relationship.”

On rookie left tackle Matt Kalil:

“As a rookie he played like a fourth-year player. Obviously there are experiences he’s going to keep learning and getting better, but his physical ability and his talent is unbelievable. He’s a big guy, but very quick on his feet and he plays at an extremely high level.”

On how he remembers the Scouting Combine:

“You always had to be on your game. Because you’re walking around the hotel, at any point in time a coach can come grab you to come talk to him or some of the other coaches. … And you gotta be on your A game at all points.”

Listen to Christian Ponder on KFAN here (starts at 25:00)

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