With last week's ruling in the Eighth District Court of Appeals that the lockout will remain in effect until – well, that part is still in question, but probably at least until June 3 – the Vikings aren't getting an opportunity to see their first-round pick throw a pass. With communication cut off between teams and all players until the lockout is done, Vikings coaches were only able to talk with Christian Ponder during the one-day window when the lockout was briefly lifted.
So will Ponder be the team's starting quarterback when Minnesota opens the regular season on Sept. 11 … or whenever the seasons starts (every NFL-related story has to be qualified by lockout rulings and labor negotiations)?
"I think he's definitely got a chance to," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said after the Vikings selected Ponder. "We're going to throw him in the mix and we feel awfully good about our quarterback room with Joe Webb, with the addition of Christian. Rhett Bomar is going to be in that room and we'll add a fourth one at some point. So, we feel good about that nucleus, I know that."
But take a look at that depth chart so far, as the NFL calendar is stuck in neutral and the real calendar is nearing June. Joe Webb. Christian Ponder. Rhett Bomar. Those are the Vikings' quarterbacks right now – and for the foreseeable future. That's five NFL games of experience and two starts. Total. Between the three of them.
No doubt Ponder has the upper hand among the triumvirate, but without the benefit of seeing how he responds to the Vikings' new offense there is no way coaches can make a decent assessment of what kind of veteran quarterback to pursue. But the "fourth one at some point" that Musgrave referenced has to be and will be a veteran, for good reason.
"I think that balances out a position, not just quarterback, but to have some young, developmental talent and also have some veterans – because players not only learn from coaches, they also learn from their fellow players," Musgrave said. "So, it is important to have a veteran in that room, really at all positions."
It may be more important at quarterback, where the learning curve is steep and reads involve diagnosing multiple positions before making a call that affects the entire offense.
Throwing around trade names like Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton before the draft was fun and semi-plausible, but after drafting Ponder there is a real question mark about how much a veteran would even play, making it harder on both the team and the player. Do the Vikings really want to pay out $8 million or much more for a veteran that could be ousted by midseason as the team looks to get the Ponder progression in order? And does a veteran like those mentioned really want to come to a team committed to finding a fountain of youth at quarterback? The answer on both accounts is likely "no," making the lockout even more of a losing proposition for the Vikings.
The way the Vikings stadium saga has gone on and on and on for the last decade can be exasperating for fans and bewildering for the team. It seems every excuse is being used to delay and deny, but it reminds this writer of a sign that former Viking Bob Lurtsema used to have in his office: "Let's think of a few reasons it can be done."
The Vikings have been promoting those reasons for the several months, if not years, but on our way to a seemingly inevitable special session, here are a few of my top reasons from among dozens that the Vikings have been promoting that the stadium makes sense:
Opponents have their reasons for not wanting a stadium built, but there are more than a few reasons why it can be done, even to the fiscally conservative.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.