KFAN is your Radio Home for Vikings Football. During the 2011 Season, tune in to Vikings programming KFAN 100.3 all week long.
AP Photo/John Froschauer
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - The last few weeks of the NFL season have not been particularly kind to Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback Christian Ponder. Criticisms ranging from his mechanics to distractions provided by his high profile girlfriend Samantha Steele have been running wild. Tuesday morning Ponder joined KFAN Radio and set the record straight on a couple of issues while instilling confidence in discouraged Vikings fans.
In lieu of Ponder's recent struggles, fans have been offering diagnoses of their own saying that Ponder has fallen in line with other prominent NFL quarterbacks that found a high profile girlfriend and saw their on-field production tumble (Tony Romo, Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinart). No surprise, when asked about this, Ponder denied it.
"[Samantha] has nothing to do with it," Ponder told KFAN's Paul Allen. "We've been dating since the beginning of the season so she had also to do with the five wins. It has really nothing to do with anything on the football field."
Steele, a College Football/Basketball sideline reporter for ESPN, is obviously pretty busy with her own career during the football season, so the idea of a "normal", high intensity relationship is unlikely at this time. This was an observation that Ponder also noted.
"She's a huge football fan," Ponder said of Steele. "She understands the game and understands the commitment to the game and commitment to work. She's the one who pushes me to do better at my job."
Ponder's downward spiral of late reached a new low this past Sunday when, en route to one of his worst performances as a pro, fans and commentators alike began calling for the backup quarterback, Joe Webb, to be put in. Well aware of the criticism, Ponder explained what he would have done had he been the head coach of the Vikings last Sunday.
"I don't think [I would have benched myself]," Ponder explained. "We were still in the game, so no I definitely wouldn't have pulled myself...I wasn't performing well but knowing the position and knowing what it takes, I think in the middle of the game to pull a quarterback is a really tough decision."
Ponder and Paul Allen went on to talk about the Vikings recent struggles, Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator and preparing for the Detroit Lions.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN