Three days after the Mc Nabb trade, Ponder agreed to terms with the Vikings on a rookie contract that included million guaranteed. "My mentality is to be able to go in and compete and try to get that job from him. Somewhere down the road I'm going to push to take that over and we'll see." Following a disastrous start to the season for the Vikings under Mc Nabb, Ponder made his NFL debut against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter on October 16, 2011.
In a game where the Vikings were blown out 39-10, Ponder completed 9 of 17 passes for 99 yards in his first real action.
In 2006, Ponder sat out his true freshman season at Florida State on redshirt status.Ponder helped the 1-5 Vikings give the undefeated Packers a close game and finished 13 of 32 for 219 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the 27-33 loss.Ponder was able to get his first win as an NFL starting quarterback the following week against his fellow 2011 draft mate Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on October 30, 2011.He threw for 236 yards and a touchdown, and had a passer rating of 102.7.After a bye week, the Vikings faced off against the Packers again, this time on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field.He threw two touchdowns with three interceptions against the Oakland Raiders in a losing effort.