MANKATO — It may not be that easy to pick up in practices when the Vikings are just working out against themselves, but both Christian Ponder and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave say the quarterback is showing marked improvement over where he was a year ago.
“There’s no comparison whatsoever to last year’s camp,” Ponder said after Thursday afternoon’s practice. “It’s a huge difference. Last year, not knowing anything about my teammates, not knowing the playbook that well, not being able to hear it out of coach Musgrave’s mouth and really understand it, not knowing my surroundings, it was a challenge.
“Now I know everybody. I’ve got great relationships with all the players and the rest of the staff. I know Mankato, and I know the experience.
“I know how the game goes from having played last year. I feel more comfortable and you can tell everyone else feels much more comfortable, too.”
Musgrave agrees: “When we were going through the season last year and we threw him in for the last 10 games with minimal preparation, it’s just night and day. It’s part of the process, which is a good thing, and we’ll keep working that process until we get to where we want to be.”
Ponder said another big difference this summer is his situation. A year ago he was going into the season as the backup to Donovan McNabb. This year he is the clear-cut starter.
“It’s a big difference,” he said. “I have so much more confidence and I feel so much more comfortable. I can read, I can step up and be that guy.
“This is my team and I’m able to perform so much better knowing that. It’s a good feeling.”
When asked if he was looking at a certain percentage of passes he wants to complete this season the signal caller said not really. He just wants to be more efficient.
“You always want to complete 100 percent of your passes,” he said. “I think the benchmark is to try to shoot for 75 percent of you passes on first and second down so I guess that’s a good goal.”