Entering his second season in the National Football League, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is currently the fourth-best quarterback on the fourth-best team in the NFC North. That hasn't stopped him from setting lofty goals for both the Vikings and himself.
Ponder is talking playoffs for a team that went 3-13 a season ago, and plans to have an otherworldly completion percentage on early downs for himself this season.
"In our minds, we have a good team," Ponder said Wednesday, via Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. "Obviously, we've still got a lot of things to get better at in the next two weeks. Last year, we were in so many games. Could have easily been 10-6 instead of 3-13. That's a good sign. We were close last year, and we're only going to get better this year."
The consensus is that the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are playoff-caliber teams, with each franchise making the postseason at least once in the last two seasons. The Vikings should be improved, perhaps not enough to make the playoffs, but what else is Ponder supposed to say?
As for his completion percentage, Mark Craig of the Star Tribune reports Ponder wants to complete 75 percent of his pass attempts on first and second down, a mark that not even Drew Brees (71.1 percent, 71.2 percent), Aaron Rodgers (69.8 percent, 69.4 percent) or Tom Brady (68.3 percent, 67.3 percent) reached last season.
Ponder completed 50.9 percent of his attempts on first down and 56.8 percent on second down as a rookie. Increasing those percentages by 10 or more points would be a good start.Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.