Ponder shows strong arm in workout

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2011 - 6:16 AM

The Vikings rookie impressed Jaymar Johnson.

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Christian Ponder

Photo: Dave Martin, Associated Press

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Jaymar Johnson did not recognize the newcomer Monday at the workouts at the University of Minnesota. The Vikings receiver was quickly informed he was looking at his soon-to-be teammate, quarterback Christian Ponder.

"I was like, 'Oh, snap, let me go talk to him,'" Johnson said. "I had no idea he was going to be up here today. I like him. He has good mechanics, a nice little spiral on the ball."

Ponder joined drills that are being led by Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. and Bill Welle of Welle Fast Elite Sports Training. Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the April draft by the Vikings, arrived in the Twin Cities this weekend after a 22-hour drive from Florida.

Working in hot and muggy conditions, Ponder admitted he wasn't as sharp as he would like.

"That's the first time I've thrown in a couple of weeks and also throwing with new guys," he said "But I think today I wanted to come out and sling the crap out of the ball, and that's never good as a quarterback. Tomorrow will be a lot better."

Other Vikings taking part included tight end Kyle Rudolph, a second-round pick in April, defensive end Brian Robison and linebacker Jasper Brinkley.

Late in the passing drills, Johnson ran a go-route and Ponder delivered the ball in stride.

"He has good mechanics, a nice little spiral on the ball and then on that go-ball I tried to test him out a little bit and he hit me on it," Johnson said. "He's got a strong arm."

Ponder was going to leave early because he needed to meet with his realtor -- Ponder is living in Rudolph's guest room right now -- but Fitzgerald told Ponder that he should stick around. While Ponder praised the intensity of the Fitzgerald workouts, he is optimistic that the NFL lockout soon will end and enable him to begin making up for lost time. It appears the lockout could be lifted as soon as this week.

"It's huge to be able to start on time," he said. "I need as much work as I can get, obviously, as a rookie. Missing just a week or so, a couple of days, that's huge. I need every day to make it count."

Decision delayed

The Vikings and Minnesota State University Mankato have delayed the decision on whether the team will hold training camp in Mankato this summer. The Vikings had a Monday deadline to inform the school whether they would return for a 46th year in Mankato or pull the plug because of the lockout. The progress made on the CBA caused that decision to be pushed back.

"There is no new deadline for a decision because it's a fluid situation," said Jeff Anderson, the Vikings assistant director of public affairs. "We'll evaluate it as we go through the week. The closer we get to camp and the start of school year the harder the decision becomes."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in June that if the lockout ended in a timely fashion the team would report to camp July 31. The expectation is that camp would break Aug. 11, two days before the Vikings play their preseason opener at Tennessee.

Classes at the college start Aug. 22, and Michael Cooper, the media relations director at Minnesota State, said that means it would not be possible for the Vikings to be on campus in the third week of August because students will be moving in.

If the Vikings don't hold training camp in Mankato, all preseason workouts likely would be at Winter Park. Anderson said that the Vikings don't have any employees in Mankato yet -- ordinarily they would be there by now -- but that work with vendors and the university has started.

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