For Vikings' Ponder, keeping it simple isn't always simple

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 31, 2012 - 12:28 AM

The Vikings aren't asking a lot of quarterback Christian Ponder, but growing pains continue.

 

MANKATO - For a moment, Michael Jenkins appeared ready to deliver the crowd-pleasing highlight of Monday afternoon's practice. Freezing cornerback Chris Cook with a hitch, the Vikings receiver broke free up the right sideline, gaining 4 yards of separation.

Quarterback Christian Ponder zeroed in and fired.

Only Jenkins stumbled. And Ponder put too much on his throw.

Incompletion.

Cue the inevitable groans.

On the first series of 11-on-11 action during the first training camp practice in pads, Ponder had missed a big-play opportunity. Which, predictably, seemed to fluster an excitable contingent of fans in the practice field stands.

It bothered Ponder, too. When the series was over, he raced to Jenkins with an apology and a low five.

"Man," Ponder said. "I've got to put more air under that."

With the Vikings practicing in full pads Monday for the first time since December, Ponder's efforts were, by his own admission, inconsistent. All eyes were on the second-year quarterback to see if he'd continue the stellar play he showed during two practices last week.

Instead, Ponder had an average day, struggling some with his blitz pick-ups and missing a few open routes.

"I thought there obviously were a lot of mistakes that we can fix and a lot of growing to do," Ponder said. "But I thought this was a good starting point."

That vexing overthrow of Jenkins?

"If I had left it a couple inches shorter, it would have been a touchdown," Ponder said. "It was frustrating to miss a wide-open guy like that. He ran a good route and I just missed him."

Still, while Ponder's ability to energize the offense will determine how much growth the Vikings make in 2012, making big things happen might not require an avalanche of big plays.

Instead, as camp progresses and the daily 11-on-11 tests increase, Ponder will be judged more so on his decision-making and his efficiency. And those must tie back to the straightforward and somewhat vanilla theme that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has been preaching.

"Our mindset," Ponder said, "is to do the ordinary things better than everyone else."

To translate, that essentially means the Vikings are trying to find situations and play calls that their young quarterback is comfortable with and can execute repeatedly.

"We're going to find that comfort zone and have plays we can lean on and go to in clutch situations," left guard Charlie Johnson said. "And we're going to work those and get to a point where we can do it in our sleep. I think that's a great approach considering how young we are offensively. Not just with Christian but also with all the young receivers and some of the [offensive] linemen."

So yes, Ponder's 11-on-11 errors Monday included that overthrow to Jenkins, a short-hopped dart in the direction of tight end Kyle Rudolph and a deep pass to Devin Aromashodu that was routinely swatted down by Eric Frampton.

But Ponder also excelled in spots when he wasn't trying to do too much. His prettiest throw was a touchdown toss to Rudolph over the top of linebacker Chad Greenway.

"You have to step back and say to yourself, this is Day 1," Johnson said. "We're in no rush. Just slow down, do the work and we'll get better. Coach Musgrave says it best: We're going to do ordinary things better than everything else."

So the Vikings young quarterback left practice glued to the understanding that riding the training camp wave requires a big-picture perspective that, in the NFL, is not always retained on the outside.

Added Ponder: "It's building blocks right now. It's only the third day. ... Hopefully you don't get into those sluggish days. And when you do get in the sluggish days, you have to grind it out."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 88 FINAL
Charlotte 79
Philadelphia 103 FINAL
Detroit 109
Dallas 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Boston 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 3
Arizona 0 FINAL
Minnesota 2
Carolina 0 FINAL
Calgary 5
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Columbus 5 FINAL
San Jose 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close