Fresh off a 22-hour weekend trip from Florida to Minneapolis, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder took part in workouts this morning on the University of Minnesota campus.
Working in hot and muggy conditions, the 12th-overall pick in the NFL draft admitted that he had to shake off some rust as he worked on his conditioning and threw to a variety of receivers in a session arranged by Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr.
"I was definitely rusty," Ponder said. "That's the first time I've thrown in a couple of weeks and also throwing with new guys. But I think today I wanted to come out and sling the crap out of the ball and that's never good as a quarterback. Obviously, it shows I was a little rusty. But toward the end it felt better. It's the first day. Tomorrow will be a lot better."
Ponder was among a number of Vikings players who attended the workout on an outdoor field at the Gibson-Nagurski complex. Also going through drills were defensive end Brian Robison, linebacker Jasper Brinkley, tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Jaymar Johnson. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who will be a former Viking once the NFL lockout ends and he can explore free agency, also was in attendance again.
Players spent the first part of the workout doing conditioning drills before receivers started to run routes. This morning's heat, meant that players were out of gas by the end.
"It’s unbelievable," Ponder said of the heat. "It feels like Florida, probably a little hotter than Florida. It’s good to get us in shape, get ready for the season."
Late in the passing drills, Johnson ran a go-route and admitted he tested Ponder's arm. Ponder delivered the ball to Johnson in stride. "He looked good, he's in shape," Johnson said of Ponder. "He looked strong, he throws a nice little ball, has a nice little touch on it. It's our first day out here so we've got to get our timing and stuff down together."
Ponder stayed for the entire workout, although that was not his original plan. He was going to leave early because he needed to meet with his realtor -- Ponder is living in Rudolph's guest room right now -- but Fitzgerald told Ponder that the house hunting could wait.
"I'm supposed to be meeting with my realtor right now, so he told me just to call him and tell him we'll do it later," Ponder said.