The Minnesota Vikings certainly had a disappointing season which quickly turned into a developmental year for rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. After a 1-5 start, coach Leslie Frazier decided to move away from Donovan McNabb and Ponder started at quarterback the rest of the season.
Ponder's toughness was tested and he struggled with injuries which had him on and off the field over the last half of the season. Fellow rookie Kyle Rudolph came on strong as the season progressed and showed promise as an impact tight end for the future.
So how does the Vikings' last draft class grade out overall? ESPN's Mel Kiper re-graded the 2011 draft based on how this past season went, and the Vikings didn't fare well despite Ponder and Rudolph showing some promise. Here is how Kiper graded the draft.
Post-draft grade: C+
Summary: When you think you're drafting the quarterback of the future for the franchise, you take your shot. That's what the Vikings did at No. 12 when they drafted Christian Ponder. I had that as a reach on my board, but Ponder showed some things in 2011. Still, it was for a team that was far less competitive than we thought it would be, and, as the season finished, I even heard questions about whether the team should give Joe Webb a shot. Are the Vikings confident they can compete in 2012 with Ponder at the helm? Kyle Rudolph is a talented player and should be a weapon in that offense; he certainly has mastered the one-handed catch. After that, it's pretty quiet. Christian Ballard got reps, but I don't see him as an impact player. Overall, this is still an incomplete for me as we wait on Ponder. But hopefully we'll see some development from the other picks, too.
New grade: C-
As you can see, Kiper wasn't real high on Ponder to begin with, so it appears he is not willing to give points for battling through injuries to play. But it is clear that eventually this class will be remembered for what Ponder and Rudolph do to help the Vikings win.