Christian Ponder has been the quarterback under the most fire of all the playoff teams. Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson called Ponder ‘the worst quarterback in the NFL,’ to say the least. Adrian Peterson’s one man show had been carrying the Vikings, but everyone knew at some point the quarterback was going have to play big.
Leslie Frazier went out of his way to make sure Ponder knew he had his back. He went to the media and plainly said he wasn’t switching quarterbacks after a string of losses, that it wouldn’t be good for Ponder's development.
Frazier’s trust was rewarded Sunday, as the Viking needed Ponder and he came up big. Ponder was 16 of 28 for 234 yards and three touchdowns with a 120.2 passer rating, leading the Vikings to a 37-34 victory over division rival Green Bay and a playoff invitation. Frazier spoke about his young quarterback, who may have had his coming of age moment Sunday.
“He's definitely improved coming out of that Green Bay game,” Frazier said, according to Joe Oberle of cbssports.com. “It's been a process each one of the games following -- he's gotten a little bit better. And he was very good on Sunday's game. It's just been a product of the work that he has put in with his coaches."
"To not wilt under the pressures surrounding the quarterback position, just staying focused on getting better, that's just a credit to Christian;
I talked to him in the locker room after the [first Packers] game,” said Frazier, “because I knew there was going to be a lot of criticism, a lot of second guessing from a lot of different places. I wanted him to know before he walked into that press conference; I don't want you to walk in there with any doubt about your future here as our starting quarterback. We have some work to do, but you are going to be the guy."
"It increases everybody's confidence when he plays as well as he's played,” he said. “It was arguably our biggest game of the season because of what was at stake. It's very encouraging. But in our business, you have to continue to put good games together. You can't rest on your laurels in this business, because our next game is bigger than what we just had. Now we're in the playoffs and the stakes get a little higher. And you just want to keep playing better; you don't to say that was my best game and peak at that point.”