Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings haven't told Ponder if they plan to pick up his fifth-year option

Posted by: Matt Vensel under Vikings Updated: April 30, 2014 - 6:14 PM

While Christian Ponder is trying to convince a new coaching staff that he can start at quarterback in 2014, the Vikings soon will have a decision to make on his future beyond this season.

The team has until Saturday to decide whether to exercise their fifth-year option on the 2011 first-round pick. Ponder said Wednesday that they haven’t told him what they plan to do.

“No, we haven’t talked about it,” Ponder said before the team’s afternoon minicamp practice.

If the Vikings pick up the option -- and as I wrote last week, the decision might not be as easy as you think -- Ponder would be scheduled to make $9.686 million in 2015. But, and this is key, that figure is only guaranteed for injury, so they could cut him without cost after the 2014 season if they want.

Ponder, who admitted he wasn’t even sure the Vikings would bring him back this season, said he isn’t worried about the pending decision. He is just focused on competing for a starting job with quarterback Matt Cassel, who took first-team reps Wednesday, and maybe a rookie QB.

“I don’t know what to expect. Honestly, I’m not thinking about it,” said Ponder, who threw seven touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 2013. “And plus the option doesn’t really mean much because they can cut me without anything after this year, so it doesn’t matter.”

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