Veterans are no-shows, but rookie QB carries on

  • Article by: GREG AUMAN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2011 - 12:25 AM

Draft picks play, bond when their older teammates don't come through on their promises to attend workout.


Quarterback Christian Ponder, the Vikings’ first-round draft pick, ran with a group of rookies at IMG Madden Football Academy in Florida.

Photo: IMG World photo

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BRADENTON, FLA. - Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder had hoped to bring together a larger group of teammates this week, but several veterans who had committed to attend didn't show up as expected Wednesday.

Receivers Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian, running back Lorenzo Booker and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had been expected to join a group of seven players who worked out Tuesday at the IMG Madden Football Academy, but none showed up Wednesday, citing a variety of excuses.

"I thought it would be hard and probably should have had better planning," Ponder said of scheduling the informal minicamp right after the Memorial Day weekend. "We'll definitely do it again and hopefully a bunch more guys will show up. ... I talked to a few guys, some other guys we couldn't get a hold of. ... We got some good work in. To be around some of the guys was good for me."

The only new addition Wednesday was rookie defensive back Mistral Raymond, a sixth-round pick from the University of South Florida who is from Palmetto, just a few miles north of IMG's campus. Raymond had a summer class at USF on Tuesday but joined the Vikings on Wednesday afternoon. That made it four of the Vikings' draft picks, with Ponder, tight end Kyle Rudolph and center Brandon Fusco.

Heavy rains canceled a scheduled field workout Wednesday afternoon, but the players added a second hour of playbook installation instead and will hold one final workout Thursday morning.

Rudolph, the second-round pick from Notre Dame, said he had actually befriended Ponder at the NFL combine workouts in Indianapolis, before they learned they'd be teammates in Minnesota.

"We also spent a week together at the Rookie Premiere, so we've kind of built a relationship and continue to build on that," said the 6-6, 259-pound rookie. "Meeting Rhett [Bomar] and Joe Webb and the other guys, it's been a lot of fun, and we've all clicked since the time we met each other."

Rudolph found another familiar face in former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, an undrafted rookie who is also working out at IMG. The two squared off twice in college and were workout partners during Tuesday's weight-room session.

Rudolph has been working out by himself in Cincinnati, but said the intensity of training with teammates has been a major upgrade for him this week.

"Coming down here with these guys, pushing one another, it makes it fun," he said. "I've worked harder in the last two days than I think I have in the month I've been working by myself. It's all day, from 8 a.m. until like 4:30. It doesn't even seem like work because you're having such a good time with everybody."


• Rudolph, who said he will wear jersey No. 82 for the Vikings, said he plans on working out some in Minnesota with a group of players that includes Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr., whom he met at the Rookie Premiere event.

• Joining the Vikings at IMG on Wednesday were Eagles safety Nate Allen, as well as former LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, a third-round pick of the Colts.

• Wednesday's morning workouts included a training session in the IMG pool, which included an impromptu football game using a tennis ball. Webb caught a lob pass over a leaping Ponder for a score.

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Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 Bottom 10th Inning
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 98 4th Qtr 0:14
New York 98
Chicago 73 3rd Qtr 0:29
Milwaukee 70
Dallas 107 4th Qtr 10:32
Oklahoma City 101
Sacramento 90 4th Qtr 8:37
Houston 100
Toronto 95 4th Qtr 8:52
Minnesota 71
Denver 38 2nd Qtr 3:58
Utah 46
LA Clippers 9:00 PM
New Orleans 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 3 3rd Prd 6:14
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 2 3rd Prd
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Colorado 9:30 PM
San Jose
Loyola-Chicago 59 2nd Half 2:59
ULM 58
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66
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