Christian Ponder ready for Minnesota return, boos


August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Christian Ponder (9) passes the football against the St. Louis Rams during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings fans soured on Christian Ponder after he never reached the heights he experienced during Adrian Peterson’s historic season when the quarterback guided the Vikes to the playoffs before getting hurt in December, sinking the team’s chances in the playoffs in the process. Following bad injury luck, Ponder never recovered, eventually making way for the Teddy Bridgewater era and finding himself in Oakland as the backup quarterback in 2015 NFL Free Agency after leaving Minnesota s a scrutinized former starter who will be forever viewed as a disappointment in the minds of Vikings fans.

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Luckily for Ponder, the Raiders second preseason game gives the now backup who is in a battle with Matt McGloin for the QB2 job behind Derek Carr the opportunity for redemption as he returns to Minnesota on Saturday night. Taking on his former teammates and former fans who once cheered for him before criticizing him heavily after his one magical year running the offense that Adrian Peterson carried never was matched once he came back from injury.

The former first-round pick of the Vikings expects to get booed despite it only being the preseason, but Ponder has been taking his return to his former team in stride while on the West Coast this week. Joking with the media that he plans on giving it right back to the fans and having some fun with his return once he takes over from Derek Carr at quarterback on Saturday.

Oh, I’m going to get booed,” Ponder told the media on hand at camp. “I’m trying to figure out, we were talking about it in the quarterback room, what I should do when I get out on the field? Should I take a bow, or what? What’s going to happen? I’m expecting some boos, but it’s all fun though.”

Ponder, who has seen it all in his NFL and college career, added that the return along with the potential hate from the Vikings fans who once hoped he would be the future of the franchise at quarterback in replacing Brett Favre’s short run in Minnesota will make the game fun for him once he steps onto the field.

“I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing whether fans are cheering or booing,” Ponder said. “If it doesn’t happen, great, if it does happen, I’m prepared.”

Ponder was a letdown in many respects for the Vikings, but he was also thrown into the fire by the franchise and guided them to a rare playoff appearance for the franchise that few expected in just his second season. While Peterson did most of the work, Ponder’s 18 passing TD’s that season along with his underrated mobility helped the team overachieve in 2012. After that Ponder failed to repeat the success along with the franchise, but even if he has the “bust” label he did little to earn the hate of fans during his time there. If it happens, expect the boos to be fuel to the fire of Ponder who could use added motivation as he fights with McGloin for the QB2 role in Oakland. A fun preseason storyline is just that as Ponder appears to be embracing the villain role nicely going into Saturday’s game.

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