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Ponder delivers promise for long-suffering Vikings fans

Since 1962, the Minnesota Vikings have drafted three quarterbacks in the first round. Tommy Kramer in 1977, Daunte Culpepper in 1999 and Christian Ponder in 2011.

In 1979, Kramer was faced with the unenviable task of replacing a legend, following the retirement of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton. "Two Minute Tommy" quickly made a name for himself with his late-game heroics, and still ranks second to Tarkenton on the Vikings' all-time passing yards list.


Culpepper enjoyed short-lived success in the Twin Cities. From 2000-2005, he was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL. In 2004, Culpepper threw for 4,717 yards, which at the time was the fifth-highest single-season total in NFL history. The following year, a serious knee injury cut short his Vikings career.

Aside from those few early round draft choices, Minnesota has primarily been a home to veteran quarterbacks looking for a second, third, or fourth chance. Through the revolving door came Hall of Famers, Super Bowl winners, league MVPs and Brooks Bollinger.

Some notable Vikings quarterbacks:
» Donovan McNabb
» Brett Favre
» Brad Johnson
» Randall Cunningham
» Warren Moon
» Jim McMahon
» Rich Gannon

While the Vikings boast some impressive career resumes, none was able to reach the ultimate goal of this game we call pro football, while donning the purple and gold.

Sure, Kramer and Culpepper had solid NFL careers, but neither can be called the indelible face of a franchise. Moon, Cunningham and Favre all rocked the Metrodome crowd, but are associated with greater success elsewhere.

So, in Week 6, the Vikings decided it was time to go out with the old and in with the new, replacing the aging McNabb with the rookie Ponder. So far after one stellar start against the defending champion Packers, Ponder has shown promise, leaving Vikings fans to wonder if he is the long-sought-after quarterback that can lead them to a Super Bowl championship.

It remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, let alone a Super Bowl hero, but it appears he has some athletic ability. And he's no dummy. In 2010, he was the only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player to earn his MBA before his senior season.

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