When you think about the Vikings, the read-option offense isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Christian Ponder doesn’t even evoke any strong impressions of athleticism for most NFL fans. In fact, had I not seen the week 3 highlight of Christian Ponder scrambling for a 23 yard touchdown run against the 49ers, I would largely be in the same category (I didn’t get much of a chance to watch the Vikings last year, as most of their games coincided with the Seahawks).
But The Shutdown Corner Podcast‘s Greg Cosell thinks that the Vikings will start to use Ponder’s athleticism more and more in their game plan.
“I think they’re going to run read-option because Ponder can move, I think they’re going to do it with two backs, and I think what they’re going to do is line Peterson up in the backfield, and I think they’re going to motion Patterson into the backfield. […] And you’re going to put tremendous stress on how the defense reacts to that. And you don’t need to do that on forty plays. But I think they’re going to do things like that.”
This is an intriguing concept that took me by surprise when I first heard it. However, now that I think about it, it makes sense. If the Vikings are going to consistently win games, they will have to find more ways of moving the ball other than Adrian Peterson. Judging by Ponder’s first two years in the NFL, it doesn’t look too promising that the Vikings are going to develop a consistent passing attack anytime soon. By integrating at least some read-option into their offense, however, the Vikings not only create another way of gaining yards, but just the threat of Ponder running the ball will surely open up wider lanes for Peterson. We’ve seen this happen with Michael Vick/Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick/Lesean McCoy, Vince Young/Chris Johnson, RGIII/Alfred Morris, and numerous others.
So, although some may think it out of the ordinary to let Christian Ponder run the read-option, good for the Minnesota Vikings for trying something creative that could help their team win games.