The fact that Christian Ponder and Joe Webb will be among about a dozen Vikings working out from Tuesday through Thursday next week at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla., certainly could be considered a positive.

If nothing else, it will enable Ponder and Webb an opportunity to get some work with other skill position players and build camaraderie with teammates. This will be especially important for Ponder considering the Vikings' first-round pick in last month's draft will be taking over as the starting quarterback sooner than later.

But as the Vikings join the list of teams that have had players set up workouts during the lockout, the real question is how much will this help these clubs? Chris Weinke has been working with Ponder and Webb as part of the IMG program and likely will play a big role in putting together three days of work designed to resemble an NFL minicamp.

As with all other NFL teams, technically coaches and players can not communicate during the lockout. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail this week that per lockout rules Weinke also is not allowed to be in touch with Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave or quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and then relay information to any players.

One positive that comes to mind is that Ponder did get at least part of a playbook from the Vikings during the brief period in late April when the lockout was lifted by Judge Susan Richard Nelson. There is nothing that will stop him from sharing that information with other Vikings players who arrive in Bradenton.

Ponder said after he was drafted that much of what Musgrave wants to do reminds him of the offense he ran at Florida State. That means that even though he's never played a down for the Vikings and isn't under contract, Ponder probably knows more about what coach Leslie Frazier and Musgrave want to do than many of the veterans do.

Although Webb also will be involved in these workouts, this could help Ponder the most when it comes to determining the starting quarterback for the Vikings the next time they play football. This is not to say this work will come close to having had Ponder spend an offseason at Winter Park.

It should, however, signify a small step in the right direction.


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Vikings players to gather for workouts

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Eleven Vikings to take part in practices