Tarkenton weighs in on Ponder, says Peterson is 'better than Jimmy Brown'


It's been a while since Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton gave his opinion on the current state of his Minnesota Vikings, but, as always, Sir Francis has plenty to say.

Tark appeared on NBC Sports' popular Pro Football Talk program to set the record straight on the show's recent "Vikings' Mt. Rushmore" voting, how he really feels about Adrian Peterson, and what he'd like to see from Vikes current QB Christian Ponder.

"This will be his third year," Tarkenton says. "This is the year that he should start making a real, significant move.”

"Jim Marshall," Tarkenton said without hesitation when asked by host Erik Kuselias who was the most important Viking who should have been on the face of the faux Rushmore. He noted that Marshall played 19 years without missing a game and was the captain of the Vikings' defense. "To me, he's the face of the Minnesota Vikings. He's the heart and soul of our team." That Marshall is still not in the Hall of Fame is probably the biggest slight in the history of Minnesota sports.

As for AP, Tarkenton does not damn him with faint praise: "We’ve got Adrian Peterson, who is the greatest running back since Jimmy Brown. He’s the only running back I’ve ever said this, better than Jimmy Brown, I think he is."

That's quite a claim. As for Ponder, Tarkenton is clearly pulling for him, but says his gut doesn't give him a good read on what Ponder might do this season.

"I’d like to see a little more fire in his belly. I’d like to see him use his legs more," says the Scrambler. "He’s got to take over and lead the team and put the team on his shoulders and they got to come to the sideline and they got to come to the huddle and say, ‘You’re the guy, you got to pull this thing out for us.’"

For the relatively new purple die-hards who may not have the institutional knowledge of the game, Kuselias starts the interview by pointing out that when Tarkenton retired, he held the NFL records for most completions, yards and touchdown passes "of anyone. Ever."

As for the three Super Bowl losses? Well, let's not talk about that ...

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