Go here for the rest of the details on PONDER WATCH 2013 (!). Now it’s official, and Christian Ponder is inactive for the Vikings’ wildcard game tonight against Green Bay, and Joe Webb — who was on the field for all of three snaps throughout the regular season — will replace him. The decision likely came down to the very last minute.
This may actually help Adrian Peterson, and by extension the Vikings’ offense. It’s no secret what Webb does: he runs, and often for great distances. In 17 game appearances over three years, Webb has 273 rushing yards. At first that doesn’t impress you, but then you’ll look a little further and realize that of those game appearances, only three of them were starts. Yeah, this dude is fast, and last year he had 109 yards on the ground against the Lions.
That’s some serious run support for Peterson, but just don’t ask Webb to pass deep…ever. All week before the concerns around Ponder’s elbow grew more serious, we wrote that the key for a Vikings win would be how much help Peterson receives from his quarterback. And a week ago we saw the result of sufficient if not spectacular support when Ponder threw for 234 yards (his best total since Week 6) and three touchdowns.
Webb can duplicate that, but he’ll do it using his legs, forcing the Packers to stop two runners instead of one while opening up space for Peterson as a result of that guessing game. There’s an instinctive tendency to assume that inserting the backup at the last minute will be crippling.
Sure, probably. For the Packers, who now have to deal with a quarterback they haven’t prepared for, and a stark contrast in style.