The Vikings have made a change at the QB position, but that doesn’t mean the offense is going back to the drawing board. Although Sunday will be rookie Christian Ponder’s first NFL start, Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave doesn’t expect to scale back any game-planning tasks.
“We feel like we can go forward with a full complement of volume,” Musgrave said on Thursday. “We want to expand each and every week, and continue to be tough to defend. But we don’t feel like we need to put the brakes on in any regard.”
There have been flashes through the first 6 games of the 2011 season of how Musgrave’s offense can produce when executed properly, but the Vikings haven’t been able to string together 4 quarters of solid play. With a new QB at the helm, it’s certainly reasonable to anticipate an uptick in production.
Prior to being named the new starting QB, Ponder was the Vikings backup and took the majority of scout team reps, along with any 1st-team reps the coaching staff felt Donovan McNabb didn’t need. That, Musgrave says, has helped Ponder to a certain extent. On Wednesday, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier told reporters that he’s seen Ponder make significant strides since the beginning of training camp, and Musgrave agreed.
“He’s done a good job of running the opposing team’s offense off the cards,” Musgrave said. “While a lot of us (teams) have similar concepts throughout the League, he got some time on task with certain routes and concepts that we employ. So it was good for him to get out there a little bit, even though it was off of a card.”
But Musgrave also acknowledged that there’s nothing like real-time playing experience.
As for splitting up practice reps now, Musgrave says Ponder will take as many as the coaching staff can get him.
“With Christian, we’re going to try to give him as many as we can to make up for lost time,” Musgrave said. “And then as we move through the season, we may scale that back a little bit just to keep his legs and arms fresh just to prepare for each Sunday.”
Tags: Bill Musgrave, Christian Ponder, Leslie Frazier
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