Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman says Christian Ponder "will be here" next season, according to the Star Tribune.
“We’re not closing the door on anything and any player here,” Spielman said. “We’ve been through on personnel and our coaches and it’s a lot different when they’ve looked at our players and how they can utilize them this way or that way. I’m anxious to see when they get out there and get on the field with these guys that they’ll get a true sense of what they’re strengths and weaknesses are and how they can utilize it within their systems.”
Ponder is entering the final year of his rookie contract and he's set to earn a salary of $3.7 million. If the Vikings cut Ponder it would count against the salary cap, so keeping him is in the best interest of the team – but it doesn't mean he'll be the starter.
Spielman added that he still plans on addressing their need at quarterback, and they'll almost certainly take a young player in the draft. However, they won't necessarily select a quarterback with their first pick, In fact, Spielman hopes to trade back if possible.
NFL Films' Greg Cosell, an analyst known for his dedication to film-study, said Friday that he doesn't see a franchise quarterback in this year's draft.
He's also open to the idea of bringing in a veteran quarterback to help "mentor" a younger player, and that veteran could be Matt Cassel, who opted-out of the final year of his deal with the Vikings last week.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, the Star Tribune's Michael Rand said Cassel still fits in Minnesota and "something is wrong" if Ponder returns as the starter.
Earlier today we posted a review of a trade possibility proposed by ESPN's Ben Goessling that would bring Patriots backup Ryan Mallett to the Vikings.