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Tag:Christian Ponder
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:19 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 3:29 pm
 

Up to 12 teams contacted Peyton Manning Wednesday

So ... many ... choices ... (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Wednesday, the Colts released Peyton Manning, a sentence that still seems weird to write.

Also on Wednesday, the Manning-to-Team-X rumor mill got chugging along nicely. It's believed that as many as a dozen NFL teams (12!) have been in contact with Manning's camp, or Manning's agent Tom Condon. However, CBSSports.com's NFL Insider Mike Freeman reported Thursday morning that some folks believe Manning's already narrowed his list. Freeman points to the Dolphins, Redskins and ... Broncos as the short list.

Peyton's Free Agency

But for the sake of really figuring out who's in play, let's break down the teams that could've/should've/might've contacted Manning on Wednesday. Follow the parenthesis for the full count.

49ers (X) general manager Trent Baalke told everyone that the 49ers are not interested in Manning. That doesn't technically preclude any contact on their part, but it does point to a low interest level.

Despite the presence of Tebowmania, the Broncos (1) are absolutely interested in Manning. See: Freeman's report, as well as a report from Mike Klis of The Denver Post Wednesday, in which Klis says the Broncos will check in with Manning but believes they will likely stick with Tebow. That's probably more as a result of striking out on Manning, but as Freeman notes, maybe they're in play after all.  

The Dolphins (2) are quite obviously interested. Our buddy Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post believes the Dolphins are in the pole position to land Manning. And there's good reason to think Volin is right, the least of which is that he's in South Beach right now. (Well, we assume he's still there.) Adding to the pressure of Miami, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat Twitter account are all recruiting/harassing Peyton.

Speaking of the AFC East, the Jets (3) are another divisional team purportedly in hot pursuit of Manning. Or purportedly "split" about whether or not they want to chase Manning. They do. They know it. The problem? They just don't think they can actually get him, so they're trying to play it cool.

The most obvious suitor? The Washington Redskins (4), who essentially feel like they're already drunk-dialing Condon to talk about Manning. What? That counts as an "aggressive" pursuit of a free agent.

Or maybe the Seahawks (5) are the most aggressive team ... only they're going about it quietly. Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported they'd be the first team on the phone with Peyton Wednesday, and Peter King and Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated both believe John Schneider and Pete Carroll would be in hot pursuit of Manning. It's interesting, as Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner notes, because Schneider said at the combine that he wasn't interested in "passing camp" quarterbacks.

Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN named a couple additional teams as well. Most notably, he cited the Chiefs (6) as a suitor for Manning. They make a lot of sense. Schefter also listed the Titans (7) as a team that contacted Manning, but that goes contrary to what they said they'd do. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean also reports that the Titans have not (6) had contact with Manning.

That's six teams, which is a lot. And yes, I'm ignoring the Titans. I'm also ignoring the Texans, who were already ruled out by King. So who are the other six teams?

The Cardinals (7) are a team that we haven't mentioned yet, but they're still my favorite to land Manning. They have a limited window to land Manning because of the Kevin Kolb roster bonus due on March 17, and they can't be too public about their pursuit of Manning (well, Darnell Dockett can). But maybe they don't have to be public about anything: Manning has reportedly put out his own "feelers" to talk with the Cards. It probably has nothing to do with Larry Fitzgerald.

Then there's a slew of cruddy teams that we should add off the bat: the Browns (8), the Bills (9) and the Jaguars (10) are all teams with quarterbacks. But they're also teams with quarterbacks who are not Peyton Manning. And if the respective GMs of those clubs didn't at least call and say "Hey, would he be interested in playing in our city for our team?" then they should be jailed for negligence.

So we need a pair of sleepers now. Let's rule out the rest of the AFC; for one reason or another, everyone has a quarterback. Let's also rule out the NFC East. We've already included the NFC West, sans the Rams. Only one team from the NFC South and the NFC North needs a quarterback.

So only two teams remain: the Vikings (11) and the Buccaneers (12). OK, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman are both recent first-round picks, but this is Peyton Manning we're talking about. They'd be nuts not to at least inquire through backchannels if there was any possible interest.

If you think I missed someone, leave em in the comments. Or argue why your team deserves Manning.

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Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:49 am
 

For now, market for STL No. 2 pick is soft

At this point, it's unclear who will draft RG3. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Coming off his standout performance at the scouting combine last month, the stock for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III might not ever be higher than it is right now. And thus, it makes sense that the Rams would like to trade their No. 2 draft pick as soon as possible in order to get the biggest booty in exchange for the rights to select Griffin in April.

Once free agency begins on March 13 and a number of quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne hit the open market, the desire to trade a trove of draft picks to the Rams for RG3 might decrease significantly.

Who wants RG3
But even before free agency begins, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports, the Rams haven’t found a huge seller’s market.

According to the paper, the Browns, who already hold the No. 4 overall pick and obviously would have to give that up to move up to No. 2, aren’t willing to part with their second first-round pick this year (at No. 22). The idea of St. Louis not getting -- at the absolute bare minimum -- two first-round picks to give up their No. 2 selection is ridiculous, and if Cleveland sticks to that plan, perhaps the organization feels better about current quarterback Colt McCoy than many people might have guessed.

Adding to the Rams woes, the Redskins apparently are willing to part with their No. 6 pick this year and their first-round pick in 2013 but don’t want to give up their second-round pick this year. As the paper writes, that simply isn’t acceptable to the Rams.

The Post Dispatch also writes that trades won’t be worked out with eiter the Dolphins (the No. 8 pick) because Miami doesn’t want to deal with the coach in Jeff Fisher who spurned them for a job or the Seahawks (No. 12) because St. Louis doesn’t want to have to face RG3 twice a year for the foreseeable future.

What’s interesting about this scenario is if the Browns feel they can gamble and not trade for the No. 2 pick and still hope RG3 falls to them at No. 4, especially with the Vikings probably not looking at RG3 with Christian Ponder, a first-round pick last year, as the starting quarterback.

But as always, you have to take with a grain of salt any trade reports that occur before the NFL draft. At this point, it’s still a poker game with plenty of bluffing from all sides.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:00 am
 

Could the Vikings be interested in Luck, RG3?

Ponder will start for the Vikings again in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Assuming Andrew Luck goes with the No. 1 pick to the Colts in April’s draft and then somebody trades up to take the Rams spot at No. 2 to select Robert Griffin III -- still somewhat of an assumption, of course -- the Vikings won’t have a shot at either of them.

That’s because Minnesota will pick at No. 3 and because the Vikings took a quarterback in the first round last year. And while it seems somewhat silly that Minnesota would entertain the idea of replacing Christian Ponder so quickly -- Ponder began the year behind Donovan McNabb and played decently for one of the worst teams in football before injuring himself and giving way to some spectacular performances by Joe Webb -- it’s not out of the realm of possibility I suppose.

Especially when general manager Rick Spielman goes back and forth when discussing Ponder’s future with the club.

"I know we're very confident in Christian, but if one of those quarterbacks is too good to pass up, you also have to weigh that in too," Spielman told local reporters, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "But we're very, very confident in what Christian Ponder brings. As we go through this process and our coaches come into this process and we put this thing together in April, I don't know where we'll be."

Although Luck and Griffin could be categorized as “too good to pass up” by Spielman, that might say more about the team’s confidence in Ponder -- who was 2-8 as a starter while completing 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,853 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year -- than anything else. The Rams, for instance, most likely won’t stick around the No. 2 spot because they’ve already got full confidence in Sam Bradford.

The Vikings, though, will vet Luck and Griffin, interviewing them at the NFL combine and perhaps having them make visits to Minnesota.

“We'll be at their workouts, yeah," said Spielman, who said last month that Ponder would be his starter heading into offseason workouts. "We'll be doing full monty on [Luck] and RG3."

Chances are, Ponder will be safe from having to compete with Luck and Griffin for Minnesota’s affections (Webb, though, might be a different story). But the Vikings will do its due diligence either way.

Said Spielman: “You never know what happens on draft day, and I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared."

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:49 pm
 

Vikes GM: Christian Ponder is our starting QB

Ponder will start for the Vikings again in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Christian Ponder had a solid first year for the Vikings, but he wasn't necessarily guaranteed to remain the future for the Vikings, thanks to the success of Joe Webb late in the year, as well as the presence of talented quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

However, new Vikings general manager Rick Speilman said on Wednesday that Ponder is the guy going forward.

2012 NFL Draft

"He’s going to be our starting quarterback when everyone is back for OTAs," Spielman told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

That doesn't mean Ponder can't lose the starting job to Webb (or any other veteran the Vikings bring in). It simply means that Minnesota doesn't plan on drafting a quarterback (say, Robert Griffin III) in the upcoming draft.

Lest you say that's obvious, the Browns are already a current example of how a team can fail to commit to a high draft pick as soon as the season ends. On Tuesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur wouldn't commit to having Colt McCoy as his starter going forward and/or the Browns not drafting a quarterback in April.

Obviously the two situations are different; Ponder was a much higher pick than McCoy and Minnesota's only seen one season of Ponder, whereas McCoy's played in two full seasons, albeit shortened ones because of Cleveland's depth chart and concussion injuries.

But the Vikings do have the third pick in the draft, and that means they're squarely in the wheelhouse for potentially landing RG3. (For what it's worth, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have them taking Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne, respectively, in our latest mock drafts.)

Now they're more likely to find themselves squarely in the wheelhouse of trading down with a team that wants the Baylor product, which, as long as Ponder pans out to their projections, is an enviable position indeed.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 2:11 pm
 

Ponder out with injury; Joe Webb takes over

Webb

By Josh Katzowitz

Joe Webb has yet another chance to impress everybody in the Vikings organization. That’s because Christian Ponder is out of the game with an injury to what appears to be his right hip.

Webb has been like a quarterback savior this season, because every time he comes in to replace Ponder, the Vikings, for whatever reason, seem to catch a spark. He’s in the game now after Ponder took a bad hit from Chicago’s Israel Idonije. Ponder had to limp off the field, and trainers immediately began examining him.

You saw Webb’s impact last week when Ponder had to leave with a concussion and Webb came in to beat the Redskins. Earlier this month, Webb replaced Ponder and nearly erased a 17-point deficit and to almost beat the Lions.

Ultimately, Minnesota fell short, but Webb’s two-touchdown performance last week led coach Leslie Frazier to say, “Some of the things he does, man, and what it does to the rest of our team -- you can't ignore it. It's something we're going to take a real hard look at as we go forward. He definitely lifts our team.”

Ponder, despite taking a 10-point lead vs. the Bears, threw a pick-6 to Charles Tillman to give the Bears a 14-10 advantage.


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Posted on: December 29, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Adrian Peterson to have knee surgery on Friday

AP will go under the knife on Friday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Vikings aren't wasting any time when it comes to getting Adrian Peterson under the knife -- the star running back, who tore his ACL and MCL on Christmas Eve and is expected to miss eight to nine months, will undergo surgery on Friday.

That's according to our Vikings Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle who reports that Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery.

"[We’re] praying that everything goes well," coach Leslie Frazier said on Thursday. "We'll get an update after the surgery."

That Peterson is undergoing surgery less than a week after suffering the injury tells you exactly what kind of timeline the Vikings are up against -- waiting any longer to get Peterson working on rehab could seriously effect how quickly he can return. As it is now, Peterson will be pushing it to make a Week 1 return even if everything goes smoothly.

After the surgery, Peterson will return to Minnesota for rehab.

"He’ll do a portion of it here and we’re going to talk more about what’s the best way to do it," Frazier said per Oberle. "He wants to do the best thing for him, and I think the best thing would be to do a great deal of it here."

The best thing for Peterson -- and for the Vikings -- is to be prudent with his health at this point. Frazier and the team erred, clearly, in putting Peterson on the field in a meaningless game while he was dealing with an injury.

They'd be wise to remember that before trying to rush him back for Week 1 in 2012.


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Posted on: December 28, 2011 7:22 pm
 

Ponder back at practice, should start Sunday

C. Ponder plans not to miss any games after suffering a concussion (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Though Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has gone on record saying he was thinking about whether he should look at Joe Webb as the quarterback of the future, that future apparently won’t begin this week.

That’s because rookie Christian Ponder, the old quarterback of the future who suffered a concussion last Sunday, returned to Minnesota practice today and likely will make the team’s season-ending start.

"I feel good today," Ponder said Wednesday, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I had a slight headache Saturday night. But by Sunday and Monday I was feeling fine. I saw the neurologist yesterday and he cleared everything. And I passed all my baseline tests. I guess I actually scored higher on my baseline tests. So maybe I got some sense knocked into me."

Ponder probably is itching to return as soon as possible, because after he was knocked out of the game last Sunday, Webb threw two touchdown passes and gained 118 total yards while nearly coming back to beat the Lions after falling behind by 17 points. Webb also performed well earlier this season when he replaced an ineffective Ponder and breathed life into a bad Vikings squad.

Which led Vikings receiver Percy Harvin to say this: "Magic. He's gifted, man. He's one of the gifted players that you can't describe. You can't practice it. Not too many teams got quarterbacks that can do what he does."

And it led Frazier to say this: "Some of the things he does, man, and what it does to the rest of our team -- you can't ignore it. It's something we're going to take a real hard look at as we go forward. He definitely lifts our team.”

Ponder, meanwhile, has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 1,825 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and his 72.4 passer rating ranks 29th among starting quarterbacks. He’s no Blaine Gabbert, but he’s also no Cam Newton or Andy Dalton.

Ponder hopes to improve on those numbers this week and end the season on a positive season, especially if he has to battle with Webb next year for the right to be team’s starting quarterback for the year quarterback of the future.

“Especially for me personally, I want to finish strong and have some momentum going into the offseason," he said. "Obviously looking back on the games I've played in, we've got a lot of film to show me that I have a lot of things to work on and get better at. But it'd be great to finish on a positive note. And especially for this team, to finish with two wins going into the offseason, I don't think people realize how big of a springboard that is."

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Adrian Peterson out 8-9 months after knee surgery

2012 could already be a problem for AP. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Saturday, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered an absolutely horrific injury. On Monday, trainer Eric Sugarman announced that Peterson tore his ACL, MCL and both the media and lateral meniscus in his left knee, will require surgery soon and is expected to miss eight to nine months of time doing rehab and recovery.

Per our Vikings Rapid Reporter Joe Oberle, that "leaves his PCL, LCL and chondral surface of his knee non-injured."

"Basically our goal now with Adrian is restore his range of motion, decrease the swelling and keep his quadriceps strong in order to prepare him for surgery, which is going to probably be in the next 7-10 days," Sugarman said. "We expect most people to recover from this injury in 8-9 months and instead of comparing Adrian to any other player at any level that has ever had an anterior cruciate ligament, and they happen every day, I really would like Adrian to stand on his own merit."

Week 16 Recap
Therefore, it's quite possible the beginning of next year could be in danger for Peterson as well. Sports Illustrated's Peter King spoke to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on Sunday and, while the coach is optimistic, reading between the lines makes it pretty clear that Peterson won't come into 2012 fully healthy.

"Wes Welker's rare," Frazier told King. "But I talked to Adrian on the plane on the way home last night. He's down, of course. But he will attack his rehab viciously. He is such a strong-minded guy. We won't know everything about the damage until the surgery is done, but we think if everything goes perfectly, Adrian will be back to play at the start of next season.

"I think he'll turn out to be one of those case studies people look at when they want to see how a guy rehabbed to come back strong."

First, let me point out that I actually kind of agree with Frazier here: Peterson is a beast, and if there was one person in the NFL who needed to work hard enough to beat a medical timeline, Peterson is that guy. Additionally, he's returned from a major injury (a broken collarbone he suffered while diving into the end zone in college) before and dominated after it.

But that doesn't mean that Frazier should get off light simply because Peterson is a physical freak of nature. As noted in "Sorting the Sunday Pile," the Vikings have been running out banged-up players in games that don't matter all year and now it's could cost Frazier in a big way when it comes to the success in his second year as Vikings coach.

My colleague Charley Casserly agreed too, pointing out that someone with the Vikings should have "dragged out" Peterson's rehab for the rest of the season to make sure he was healthy heading into the offseason.

There was simply no need for AP to be on the field during a meaningless game at the end of a lost season. And as a result, it's possible it could cost the Vikings well into the next season.


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com