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CHRISTIAN PONDER
It wasn’t like it was a secret. The Vikings said they were hell-bent on taking a quarterback in this draft and that’s exactly what they did. I was torn between believing them and thinking all the quarterback talk was a smokescreen.

Obviously, it wasn’t.

Vikings fans were not pleased, judging by their reaction both at the draft and online but their displeasure mostly had to do with where Christian Ponder was picked, not that he was picked. From Scott Studwell to Rick Spielman to Leslie Frazier, the Vikings are conceding they reached for Ponder, without explicitly saying it.

So, yeah, I thought it was a reach like everyone else but there it is; I’ll get over it.

Christian Ponder is our presumptive franchise quarterback. Let’s take a closer look.

According to his NFL Draft Profile, Ponder stands six feet, two inches tall and weighs 229 pounds. He runs a 4.65 forty; a 6.85 3-cone drill; and a 4.09 20-yard shuttle. [READ Interpreting NFL Combine Results.]

Ponder is an extremely accurate passer on short and intermediate routes but might need some work on his long throws. He’s got great footwork, can move around in the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield when scrambling, and throws accurately on the run. He can make plays in the open field.

He’s got a strong enough arm, gets the ball out quickly, but he won’t be breaking any fingers with blazing bullets.

At Florida State, Ponder ran a pro-style offense, so he’ll be familiar with many West Coast concepts, as Matt Bowen points out in his excellent break down of Ponder’s game.

He’s very good at hitting receivers in stride on timing routes, something Tarvaris Jackson never really mastered. He might need to be broken of a tendency to lock onto receivers, though.

The guy is pretty damn smart and is a quick study (anyone who completes an MBA in two and a half years, then starts working on another degree is by definition a quick study), which are two huge assets for a West Coast quarterback in general and for the Vikings present situation in particular.

The major knock on Ponder is injuries but the Vikings appear to be satisfied it’s not a major issue and even commend him for playing through pain.

Though Leslie Frazier indicated the quarterback position would be up for competition between all QBs on the roster, the Vikings are sure sounding like they expect Ponder to be calling the signals come opening day, with Spielman calling the kid an “NFL-ready quarterback.”

Thus begins the education of an NFL quarterback.

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DAY TWO
The Vikings have the 11th pick of the second round (43rd overall) but no third round pick because they wasted it when Brad Childress released Randy Moss. The moron.

As I said in my Vikings Draft Strategy piece, the Vikes can pick at any position aside from running back (and now, quarterback) and still be drafting for need, so their best option would be to take the best player available.

Rick Spielman hasn’t ruled out making a trade to recoup that third round pick. So here’s a draft-day wish for you, Rick: Trade Bryant McKinnie‘s ass to some fool for their third round pick and choose an offensive lineman with our second round pick tonight.

DRAFT TOOLS
Some links for your draft research:

THE DEETS
The 2011 NFL Draft resumes tonight at 5 PM CST with rounds two and three and then closes out rounds four through seven on Saturday, starting at 11 AM CST. ESPN and the NFL Network carry the broadcast on TV and NFL.com will webcast the draft.

THROWBACK THURSDAY
Home video of a look inside the 1986 Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato, Minnesota. [WATCH.]

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