Dalton reflects on Vikings bypassing him

QB Andy Dalton visited the Vikings, who had an extensive look at him during the scouting process in 2011. Now he gets to face the Vikings with Christian Ponder as the backup. Dalton talked about the predraft process and contact with the Vikings and we compare the numbers, where Dalton easily wins.

The Vikings might not admit it, and circumstances between players and teams are always different, but the raw numbers show that 2011 second-round pick Andy Dalton has had far more success than Vikings 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder.

Both quarterbacks were available to the Vikings through the scouting process – being able to see them their senior years in college (Dalton at TCU and Ponder at Florida State), then again at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and finally on a pre-draft visit to Winter Park.

"I went and I met with (the Vikings). I had a visit up there before the draft and so I knew there was a possibility," Dalton said of being a Vikings consideration. "I knew they were going to be looking for a quarterback and they decided to go with Christian instead of me."

As the Vikings and Bengals prepare to meet Sunday in Cincinnati, Dalton will be the starter for the home team. Ponder will be on the bench once again for the Vikings, supplanted by veteran Matt Cassel.

At the 2011 Senior Bowl, the Vikings had extensive looks at Ponder, Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, another second-round pick. They bypassed both Kaepernick and Dalton and chose Ponder 12th overall. Dalton and Kaepernick both lasted until the second round.

"I think playing college with those guys and going through the whole draft process with them you naturally follow the guys that were in your class, so I do keep up with what they're doing," Dalton said.

"You just try to impress everybody that you can (at the Senior Bowl). You never know what's going to happen in the draft. It's good to be on the same field with some of those guys and kind of measure and see where you're at. You kind of put yourself in a place and have that competition with other guys."

By the time the Vikings picked, Cam Newton (No. 1 overall), Jake Locker (No. 8) and Blaine Gabbert (No. 10) were already off the draft board. Dalton went No. 3 in the second round to the Bengals and Kaepernick No. 4 to the San Francisco 49ers.

"I think it comes down to, I came into a good situation, a chance where I was going to be able to start right away. A good organization with a bunch of good guys," Dalton said. "When I first got here, nobody expected us to do anything. A lot of people expected us to not win a game. Now that I've been in the playoffs every year that I've been here, I think I've come into a good situation and performing like I'm capable of doing. I think it's getting the opportunity and taking advantage of it."

In the last two years, Dalton's completion percentage has been over 61, his passing yards north of 3,600 and his passer rating above 87. Through 14 games this year, his touchdowns and interceptions match what he did in 16 games last year – 27 touchdowns, 16 interceptions.

He hasn't missed a game or a start yet since entering the league.

Ponder's career has gone a different route. He started 10 games as a rookie in 2011. While he started every game last year, he still hasn't exceed 3,000 yards passing in a season, his highest passer rating for a season was 81.2 last year and his career touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio is 38-to-34. Through 14 games this year, he has started only nine, missing two with rib and head injuries and officially being a healthy backup for three more.

So shouldn't Dalton have been a first-round pick?

"It's all kind of speculation," he said. "Obviously you want to get drafted as high as you can, but you also want to get into a good place and a good situation. At the end of the day, that's more important than anything."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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