Quarterback Christian Ponder knows there will be a big-time urgency from the Vikings to get him signed once the NFL lockout is over -- and it looks as if that day could be coming soon.

Ponder, the 12th pick in the April draft, isn't concerned about there being any issues with his contract.

"I definitely want to be on the field as soon as possible," Ponder said Thursday. "I'll let my agent [Jimmy Sexton] handle all the negotiating. I know he'll do a great job. He wants me to be on the field and he'll do what's best for me. So that will be fine. I don't know if there is going to be much negotiating room anyway with everything I'm hearing once they get the CBA done and this whole rookie scale gets figured out."

In fact, it appears an agreement on the rookie compensation system has been reached. ESPN reports that first-round picks now will sign four-year deals, with options for a fifth, that will decrease their money 40 to 50 percent from last year.

Ponder will be busy this weekend as he drives from Tallahassee, Fla., to the Twin Cities so he can get settled before training camp begins. However, he likely will continue to keep a close watch on the progress being made in the lockout talks.

"I'm trying to pay attention to everything I can," he said. "Through reading stuff in the media, to trying to call [guys] and get them to give me some information and calling my agent. ... I hope and pray that this is something that ends soon."

It sounds more and more as if that will be the case.


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