Christian Ponder, the Vikings' first-round choice in the April draft, was a guest on Paul Allen's show this morning on KFAN Radio. Here are some highlights from what the quarterback told Allen and his Friday co-host Paul Charchian.
Q. What are your thoughts on potentially starting Week 1 as opposed to having a veteran brought in after the lockout?
A. “Obviously, I think everyone in my position would love to start Week 1. It’s the competitor in me and something I’ve always dreamed of was starting in the NFL and I want to do it ASAP. But obviously there are some reasons behind bringing a guy in and obviously there’s some definite pros to it. If they still bring in a guy it’s going to be someone who knows what he’s doing. It will give me a lot to learn from and help me out. But at the same time, I want to definitely start Week 1. We’ll see what happens and whatever happens I’ll be completely fine with it. I think the coaches are going to make the best decision for me personally.”
Q. Chris Weinke has been helping you in your training at IMG in Bradenton, Fla. How is it going?
A. “It’s going really well. Chris is helping me out, we’ve kind of done some things with my throwing motion a little bit. I’m throwing the ball a lot better than I did. I wasn’t throwing the ball bad before, but now it’s just coming out of my hand a lot better. ... What we’ve been doing is running kind of a minicamp form of practices down here where we’ll get a playbook and we’ll go do some plays, the pass protections, learn them. He’ll teach them to me in the classroom and we’ll go out to the field and I’ll call a play in the huddle, go up to the line and call a cadence, run the play. Basically trying to run a practice that’s normal as possible and it helps me to get the verbiage down and everything. It’s kind of correlating what he did in the NFL. Everyone kind of runs the same plays. Offenses are too different in the NFL so he kind of correlates what he did to what plays we’re running. He kind of gives me some ideas of what the reads are and everything. He’s helped me out tremendously.”
Q. Who is on the field? Is it close to 11-on-11?
A. “We’re not doing 11-on-11. There’s probably 15-20 guys here at IMG and some guys that are in college, some guys that are in the NFL and they are coming out and catching routes. We had some guys that came in that were from the Vikings a couple of weeks ago and we did the same thing when they were here. Manny Arceneaux [a wide receiver who signed with the Vikings after the season] is down here full time. … Actually [Visanthe] Shiancoe was just down here for a couple of days this week and he actually left last night. But I got to work with him a bit as well.”
Q. Who is faster, Visanthe Shiancoe of Kyle Rudolph?
A. “Well, Visanthe is [an athletic] freak. He’s definitely a freak and so is Kyle. I’d say Visanthe is probably faster but they both are going to be great weapons for me.”
Q. When are you going to get up to the Twin Cities?
A. “I’m starting to get a little money in my pocket with trading card deals and stuff, a couple of endorsements here and there. I’m finishing up IMG [training] at the end of next week. They have a symposium down here at IMG next week. That’s Tuesday and Wednesday, and I have to do some things fot Gatorade down here [in Florida] on Thursday. I’m going to a family reunion just north of Nashville for a couple of days for the weekend of the 4th [of July] and then I have to go to Peyton Manning’s camp in Louisiana on the 7th and the 8th. After that, when I’m done being busy, I’m going to head up to Minnesota and find a place to live and kind of get settled. Hopefully, this lockout will be done and we’ll get started.”
Q. Are you following the lockout?
A. “I’ve definitely been following it. It’s just too hard to tell because there’s not enough details being released and everyone is being optimistic about it. You hear comments here and there that say not to be optimistic about it because we are a long ways away [from a resolution] so it’s too hard to tell. I want to be optimistic about it and hopefully things are going to end soon. But at the same time I don’t want to get my hopes up and nothing happens. It’s a sit and wait game and play it by ear and hopefully it clears up in the next couple weeks. So we’ll see.”