To be clear, Friday morning marked the beginning of rookie minicamp for the Vikings, three days for coaches to assess their 10 draft picks, their 15 undrafted free agents and nearly four dozen others who are present on a tryout basis.

So why were there so many veterans hanging around the practice field at Winter Park?

Defensive end Everson Griffen was present. Quarterback Joe Webb too.

And perhaps most encouraging for those hoping for an offensive breakthrough in 2012, quarterback Christian Ponder and the core of his starting offensive line were in attendance watching with curiosity.

At one point, Ponder spent nearly a half hour beside offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, freshening up on some of the details of the Vikings offense. A bit earlier, Phil Loadholt, John Sullivan, Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco watched offensive line drills while keeping a close eye on rookie hot shot Matt Kalil, the left tackle out of Southern California the Vikings plucked with the No. 4 pick in the draft last week.

"It's good that they want to come out and watch," coach Leslie Frazier said. "They're hungry to get after it as well. ... The fact that they want to come out here when they could leave and go do other things on a Friday, that's a good sign. They want to be around football."

Frazier was all for the veteran presence, though he made it clear to his players that NFL regulations prohibited their participation.

"I said, 'C'mon and look. Just make sure you don't jump in a drill or pick up a dummy or anything like that,' " Frazier said.

Ponder's presence also resonated with his head coach.

"That's a big deal," Frazier said. "We're counting on him from a leadership standpoint. And you like the fact that your starting quarterback is a football junkie and will take the time to come out and watch and observe. That's encouraging."