Christian Ponder was watching during draft time in April, when the Minnesota Vikings passed on a chance to bring in another quarterback in favor of a left tackle to keep Ponder off his back.

He also noticed last week when general manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier decided to cut veteran backup Sage Rosenfels and keep a stable of young quarterbacks with Ponder at the top of the depth chart.

Heading into his first full season as the starter, and after an unconvincing preseason, Ponder knows it's time to reward that faith. The Vikings open the regular season at home against Jacksonville on Sunday. With Adrian Peterson likely to carry a light load if he plays at all, the offense will run through Ponder's right arm.