Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was invited to the NFL Draft in New York, but decided not to attend the event. Ponder said he wasn't sure if he would even be picked in tthe first round.
"I heard basically from the No. 8 pick to the middle of the second," Ponder said. "I really had no idea. I’m just happy it worked out this way."
The Vikings selected Ponder with the No. 12 overall pick, landing a guy they hope will become their long-term answer at quarterback.
The Vikings had a private workout with Ponder at Florida State in March. Coach Leslie Frazier, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman all made the trip.
Ponder said the visit included film work, a 45-minute throwing session and a group dinner.
"I thought the whole interview went great," Ponder said. "The whole process was good. I was really impressed with Coach Musgrave and what he’s doing on offense and Coach Frazier. And Rick Spielman came in as well. I wasn’t sure how they were going to be but I thought the whole process went well."
One of the biggest concerns with Ponder was his health. He injured the AC joint in his shoulder as a junior and battled a forearm injury throughout his senior season. Ponder said much of his pre-draft workouts revolved around showing teams that his arm is fine.
Ponder said he had fluid drained from his forearm once a week this past season and then had surgery to clean it out after the season.
"I knew that was a concern," he said. "Definitely my health was what guys were worried about. I think I was mislabeled as injury prone. Everything was bad luck. I had a third-degree separation of my AC joint my junior year. That was from throwing an interception and going and tackling the guy because I was mad. The forearm/elbow injury I had this past year was just a freak deal. It wasn’t a major injury, just a nuisance. Once the season was done, going into the Senior Bowl and the combine and the private workouts and Pro Day, I knew I had to show that I was healthy and my arm was back and I was fine."
Ponder said he had private workouts with seven or eight teams, but he didn't have a sense of where he might end up.
"I probably talked to 10 to 15 teams throughout the whole process," he said. "I wasn’t sure. I really had no clue. I was talking to my agent last night and we talked about Minnesota but we weren’t really sure."