As the deadline for teams to pick up the fifth-year contract option on eligible players passes, so does the potential future for Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. According to CBSSports.com, the Vikings decided to pass on the option that would pay Ponder $9.68 million. Instead, Ponder will make a measly $1.76 million in his final year.
This was a move that even the blind could have seen coming. There was no way that the Vikings would pay Ponder nearly $10 million to play this year as he will have to compete for the starting role this offseason. And if his mediocre play wasn’t enough, the Vikings are a team that are in a good position to draft a quarterback in this years draft, and will most likely do so. Meaning that Ponder could end up being a back-up and back-up’s (or potential back-up’s) don’t make anything close to $10 million.
Ponder was drafted by Minnesota in the 2011 draft. Coming out of Florida State, Ponder was viewed by most as an NFL-ready quarterback. He showed that he could play at a high level and he also had decent size and a good mental makeup. Of course, that didn’t carry over into the NFL. In his career, he has thrown 38 touchdowns and 34 interceptions over 3 seasons.
Now, Ponder isn’t necessarily a “bust” because after this season, no matter if he is on the Vikings roster or not, he will still have some sort of interest from teams as a backup; unlike former players like JaMarcus Russell whom after their his fall off, is still looking for a job. And Ponder also led the Vikings to the playoffs in 2012, which is always a great thing to have on your résumé. Last season, however, Ponder lost the starting job to Matt Cassel and will probably battle for the starting job once camp rolls around.
The rookie pay scale that was created in 2011 requires teams to sign rookies to 4-year deals; teams have the option to exercise the fifth-year option if the player was drafted in the first round.