Vikings defensive end Jared Allen believes that if the Vikings are going to be Super Bowl contenders, the leadership of the team has to come not from him, and not from Adrian Peterson, but from quarterback Christian Ponder.

“I tell him all the time, you have to be the guy,” Allen said of Ponder on Jim Rome’s show. “Adrian can carry this team so far, our defense can carry this team so far. You know, you look at teams that historically win championships and they have consistent play from the quarterback position.”

Last year the Vikings didn’t get Super Bowl-caliber play from Ponder: He was 21st in the NFL in quarterback rating, 23rd in passing touchdowns and and 25th in passing yards. But Allen believes Ponder can take a big step forward this year.

“I hope he makes leaps and bounds,” Allen said. “He’s a great dude.”

If Ponder can be more than just a great dude and also become a great quarterback, the Vikings could be contenders.