One former Florida State Seminole and former Minnesota Vikings QB had flattering words for another former Florida State Seminole and current Vikings QB.
Brad Johnson, who played 9 total seasons with the Vikings (1992-98, 2005-06), recently told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that Christian Ponder “should be ready to go” for the Vikings.
Coming from a player such as Johnson, those words should not be taken lightly. Vikings fans who remember Johnson’s days with the Purple might reflect on mixed memories, but make no mistake that Johnson was an accomplished player in the NFL. He spent 9 seasons with the Vikings, but played 4 seasons in Tampa Bay and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory following the 2002 season. Johnson also spent 2 seasons in both Dallas and Washington before retiring.
It’s been a while since Johnson was a mainstay on the Florida State campus, but it’s clear he still follows the program. Johnson said that current Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher “demands a lot from quarterbacks and makes them learn the game” and Johnson also intimated that Ponder might have a steadying influence that could benefit the Vikings.
“Obviously, Christian is a quick study and hard worker and led those guys to a lot of wins down there,” Johnson said. “The program went through a lot of change when he first got there, so he fought through some tough times. Hopefully he has a great career. He did a lot of good things for Florida State, really kind of stabilized the program. The program went through difficult times when he got there, and he kind of led them back to a winning tradition down there.”
Success, much less a starting job, is no sure thing for Ponder in the NFL. Second-year QB Joe Webb is on the roster with Ponder in Minnesota and Rhett Bomar will compete as well. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Vikings add a veteran signal-caller along the way.
Those things aside, Johnson was confident when talking about Ponder and expects the rookie will be able to overcome the natural hurdles a young QB faces in the NFL.
“He’s got toughness about him, he’s got enough arm to complete whatever kind of ball needs to be completed at that level,” Johnson remarked. “Obviously it’s just being ready. It’s going to be tough on him without training camp and minicamp. What happens with this lockout? He’s been a quick study coming up, but any rookie is going to have a tough time adjusting.
“But he picks things up, and he should be ready to go.”
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