Vikings QB Christian Ponder says the goal is 16-0 for 2012
MANKATO – If I am a Minnesota Vikings fan I am liking what my starting quarterback Christian Ponder has to say right now, I am just not believing it.
Ponder told the Star-Tribune that he plans achieve heights that even the greatest of the great won’t achieve.
“We want 75 percent completions on first and second downs,” Ponder said today after the Vikings’ last practice in Mankato this year. “That’s the number we’re shooting for. Obviously, we were in a lot of third-and-long situations a year ago, and we want to get out of that.”
I get what he’s trying to say and the heart of it is that he wants to make third down situations more manageable. In short, they want to reduce three-and-outs.
The current benchmark for statistical excellence in this area is the Bronco’s Peyton Manning. Even he over the course of his career averages only 68.4 percent between first and second down.
Ponder feels that big plays mixed with high-percentage efforts will get them where they need to go.
“You want to make big plays and sometimes you have to take risks,” Ponder said. “But you don’t want to take too big a risk. You have to be efficient with the ball. We still need to force the ball downfield. If you don’t throw the ball downfield, you’re not going to get the shorter routes open. You have to find a balance somehow.”
“I think we’re going to be a hard-nosed football team,” he said. “We can run the ball, but we’re also working on our no-huddle stuff. So we can jump into our no-huddle and pick up the pace. But we want to keep the ball in our hands and eat up as much clock as possible. I think this whole offense is very versatile. We can do a lot of different things. That’s the exciting part.”
When asked if the Vikings would take an 8-8 record this year after a disastrous 2011 showing, he once again shot for the stars.
“Would I take 8-8 right now? If 8-8 would take us to the playoffs,” he said. “We want to make the playoffs. I don’t know if 8-8 will do it in our division. So obviously the main goal is to go 16-0. So I don’t know. Whatever takes us to the playoffs.”
If Ponder gets his 75-percent the Vikings could go 16-0. But first he has to get that 75-percent on first and second downs and that is more or less unrealistic.