3. What is the chatter surrounding Christian Ponder this offseason, is he set to take a big step forward?
DZ: Well there’s always a lot of encouraging talk about young QBs in the offseason but until they get on the field in live action it’s hard to say. I will say, I sort of buy the main line of reasoning on Ponder, which is that he was hurt last year by the lack of a true offseason, no OTAs and all that. Of course that same circumstance didn’t bother Cam Newton and Andy Dalton but whatever. Might have been worse for Ponder and the Vikes because they were installing a whole new offense at the same time they were breaking in a new QB. I’m willing to give that argument a small amount of credence. So we’ll see. I’m a long way from being sold on the guy. Sometimes my brain superimposes the name “Grossman” onto the back of his uniform.
4. Will Leslie Frazier be on the hot seat if the Vikings endure another poor season?
DZ: I think it depends on your definition of poor. If they go like 4-12 but they’re competitive and the young guys show improvement and the front office feels the players are for Frazier, then the actual record won’t matter, and Frazier will be safe. But if they fall completely off the table and it’s obvious Frazier has lost the team? Then they’ll can him. I think it helped him that Rick Spielman was promoted to full GM this offseason. It took some pressure off Frazier and now he can concentrate on just the coaching stuff. I think Frazier was bad at handling discipline and certain personnel situations last year and letting Spielman do that will help Frazier loosen up.
5. What are your expectations for the Vikings in 2012?
DZ: I’m feeling 4-12 (a whopping one game improvement over last year). Brutal division, so many young guys in the mix, uncertainty at QB, still don’t know about the coach. Wouldn’t shock me if they went 2-14. It has the potential to be a truly dismal team if some stuff goes wrong early and guys start checking out. If everything comes together and they catch some breaks, maybe they get to 5 or 6 wins with a nice run at the end of the season the way bad teams sometimes do when they’re starting to come up a little. Then at least there will be hope for 2013.