Ponder wants to be better than Brees

Christian Ponder (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)

Vikings QB Christian Ponder has struggled lately, but he said seeing Drew Brees in action is motivation for him to eventually become better than Brees.

Some have viewed it as a sign of disrespect. Others have said it's the kind of confidence and determination they look for in a promising young quarterback who's still very much a long way from the middle, let alone the top of the NFL.

Either way, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder doesn't care. He said he's motivated to become a better quarterback than Drew Brees.

Ponder said this after Sunday's 42-20 loss to Brees and the Saints dropped the Vikings to 2-12. When Brees left the game with about 10 minutes left in the game, he had more touchdown passes (five) than Ponder had completions (four).

Brees had just become the first quarterback in NFL history to complete 80 percent of his passes (32 of 40) with five touchdowns and at least 400 yards (412). When Brees sat down, Ponder was 4 of 13 passing for 18 yards.

"For me, it's motivation," Ponder said when asked what was going through his mind watching Brees at his very best. "I always want to be the best guy on the field. I think Drew is a heck of a quarterback and one of the best quarterbacks in the league. I want to be better than him one day, obviously. I'll use that as motivation to keep getting better and prove one day that I'll be in his spot, winning games and going to the playoffs."

Ponder, the 12th overall draft pick, was viewed with much more promise back when he first replaced Donovan McNabb and went 1-1 as a starter through his first two games. He nearly rallied the Vikings to a victory over the Packers at home in his starting debut. Then, a week later, he went to Carolina and beat fellow rookie Cam Newton and the Panthers.

Since then, the Vikings have lost six consecutive games as Ponder has regressed. He was benched in the third quarter two weeks ago at Detroit.

Ponder most likely remains the team's quarterback of the future. But everyone, including Ponder, realizes how much the final two games of the season will affect the perception of Ponder throughout the offseason and into next year.

"They are crucial; they're huge," Ponder said. "I think going into the offseason, we have to finish strong, especially me."

NOTES

  • Running back Adrian Peterson runs like he's angry, but he rarely shows the kind of anger after a play that he showed toward Saints cornerback Jabari Greer in the first quarter on Sunday.

    Greer was seen at the bottom of a pile trying to twist Peterson's left ankle at the end of a 1-yard run on second-and-2 from the Vikings' 47-yard line. Peterson, who had missed the previous three games because of a high left ankle sprain, got in Greer's face but let it go when teammates came in to break things up.

    "I came into the game kind of expecting that coming back from a high ankle sprain," Peterson said. "Guys are going to try to take their shots when we're on the pile and try to twist it up and things like that. I felt like it kind of got overboard. I got up and kind of got in his face. Thank God I was able to keep my composure."

  • QB Christian Ponder's accuracy has gotten worse the past two weeks. A hip pointer suffered three weeks ago has something to do with it. It's Ponder's right hip, so he's had trouble throwing through the ball. He had 17 incompletions in 31 attempts against the Saints on Sunday. The ball tended to sail on him, or was just off the mark in other cases.

  • RB Adrian Peterson looked strong, but didn't have his full speed in his first game back after missing three weeks because of a high left ankle sprain. Peterson had only 10 carries for 60 yards. He broke free one time but didn't have his usual extra gear and was corralled after a 39-yard run.

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