Vikings Open Training Camp Thursday In Mankato
The Minnesota Vikings open up training camp Thursday at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Despite a 10-6 record in 2012 and a playoff appearance, here are three questions that will need answers in Mankato before the season begins.
1. Is Christian Ponder the quarterback of the future? Ponder definitely showed signs of improvement in 2012, increasing his statistics in almost every important category. His completion percentage went from 54 to 62, yards increased from 1,853 to 2,935 and touchdowns climbed to 18 from 13 in 2012.
However, Ponder did lay down some stinkers, raising concerns for Vikings fans. For example, on October 21st at home against Arizona, Ponder was just 8/17 for 58 yards with one TD and two interceptions. A couple of weeks later, Ponder was 11/22 at Seattle with just 63 yards.
Last year, Ponder's leash was long and with Joe Webb behind him on the depth chart there wasn't a lot of concern that Ponder's job was in danger. With Matt Cassel now on the bench as the backup, Ponder has reason to look over his shoulder if he struggles.
2. Is Greg Jennings a true #1 WR? There is no doubt Greg Jennings was an electrifying presence with the Green Bay Packers at times, and has some great statistics. However, the question remains whether his numbers were a product of having Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, or as a result of being just one of four dynamic receivers on the field at any given time for Green Bay, as opposed to a star wideout.
3. What does Desmond Bishop have left in the tank? Bishop made 75 tackles with three sacks in 2010, then 90 tackles in 2011 with five sacks before a gruesome leg injury wiped out his 2012 season.
The Vikings have a major hole at middle linebacker, and Bishop provides a low-cost, low-risk veteran option at the position. How he bounces back from the injury at a high-impact position remains to be seen. If he is ineffective, the Vikings will be forced to play veteran Erin Henderson out of position, or trust the position to one of two rookie linebackers drafted in 2013.