Ponder, the Vikings' first-round draft pick in 2011,Maglietta Juventus Bambino
, struggled in the first three games of the season, all losses. He threw five interceptions and lost two fumbles and didn't get much help from an offensive line that couldn't keep the pressure off of him, or open holes for star running back Adrian Peterson.
Matt Cassel took over in the last game while Ponder rested his injured ribs, and he gave the struggling unit a jolt. Cassel brought some much-needed rhythm and timing to the offense while throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-27 win over Pittsburgh in London.