Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has his team at 7-6 and in the thick of the playoff hunt, but questions about him being the future of the franchise continue to plague the second-year pro.
"This (playoff run) will be, in a lot of ways, a defining moment for where he is in his development as a quarterback," coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I think he's made progress. There's still more progress to be made."
Questions about Ponder's development have persisted because many times it seems as though the Vikings win in spite of their quarterback's play. In Sunday's 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears Ponder threw the ball only 17 times (completing 11 passes for 91 yards) while running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball a career-high 31 times, totaling 154 yards with two touchdowns.
Peterson, coming off anterior cruciate ligament surgery, has had an MVP-caliber season and is chasing the 2,000-yard barrier. Frazier said Peterson's play is part of the equation the team uses to evaluate Ponder's progress.
"Having to drop back and throw it 30 times doesn't necessarily have to be a part of your development," Frazier said. "There are a lot of things that go into developing at that quarterback position, and it just so happens he's in a situation where he's playing with the best in the business at a position. One day, Adrian is going to retire, 10 years from now, and maybe Christian won't have that same luxury and more will be on his shoulders. But for the time being, it's going to revolve around 28."
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.