The Minnesota Vikings made a move over the weekend that could have a huge impact on what they do in this week’s NFL Draft. Minnesota declined the fifth-year option on quarterback Christian Ponder, making him a free agent after this season. It doesn’t mean that the team wouldn’t consider the idea of bringing Ponder back but it also makes it obvious that the team is going to be taking a quarterback early in the draft.
Ponder would have made nearly $10 million in 2015 and that’s just not smart money for a player who could easily be the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart by the time the 2014 season begins. Matt Cassel is likely going to be the Vikings’ starter to begin this upcoming season but whoever Minnesota picks could have a great chance of starting depending on how high the Vikings want to go. The latest mock drafts have Johnny Manziel off the board and likely Blake Bortles as well.
That would leave Teddy Bridgewater, who probably isn’t worth the No. 8 pick. The stock of Derek Carr has been falling and he may not get taken in the first round either. It also opens the possibility of the team trading down out of the eighth spot to get more picks. That brings the No. 40 position for the Vikings into play if they stay there. It could easily be Tom Savage from Pittsburgh, whose stock has been going up in a big way or Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois. The drop-off after that is massive though and the Vikings could wait until the fourth round after the previous players are off the board. Here’s Savage in action.
The move of not picking up Ponder however has to make many fans believe that the team is going to draft a quarterback in the first two rounds from those top six quarterbacks. Is it possible that the team goes and drafts a second quarterback later in the draft like Logan Thomas or David Fales as well? That could happen depending on what new offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to do but that is probably unlikely. The Ponder news is a big development even if the team didn’t have any plans for him in the coming year. The door is now wide open for the Vikings to make a major splash at the quarterback position this week.