Vikings support Ponder, but will monitor top QBs

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2012 - 12:02 PM

A committed relationship with Christian Ponder won't keep the Vikings from checking out the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft.

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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder

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A committed relationship with Christian Ponder won't keep the Vikings from checking out the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft.

"I know we're very confident in Christian, but if one of those quarterbacks is too good to pass up, you also have to weight that in, too," Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said. "But we're very, very confident in what Christian Ponder brings. As we go through this process and our coaches come into this process and we put this thing together in April, I don't know where we'll be."

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to be taken No. 1 overall by the Colts. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is a prime candidate to be taken No. 2 because the Rams are looking to trade down from that spot. The Vikings have the third pick and have little to no need for a quarterback after using last year's first-round pick on Ponder.

But just in case something unexpected happens, Spielman said the team will interview Luck and Griffin at the combine and might include them in the 30 prospects that they'll invite to Winter Park before the draft.

"We'll be doing full monty on [Luck] and RG3," Spielman said. "You never know what happens on draft day, and I would rather be overprepared than underprepared."

Cook still in limbo

Spielman said there's no urgency when it comes to making a decision on whether to keep or release troubled cornerback Chris Cook, who has an early-March court date to face felony charges of domestic assault. Spielman said the team will wait for the legal process to play out. Cook missed the final 10 games last season, including the last eight in a paid exile from the team.

"I just say you can never have enough good corners," Spielman said. "So you're always trying to get good corners regardless, especially in the division we play."

Cornerback and receiver are two of the team's top needs. When asked to assess the strongest positions in free agency and the draft, Spielman mentioned cornerback and receiver both times.

Rehab coming along

Running back Adrian Peterson, who had surgery in late December to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, is splitting his rehab time between Winter Park and his home in Houston.

"We've been very pleased with how he's been rehabbing," Spielman said. "The way he's been working and where he's at in his rehab, he'll be extremely close to being ready" for the start of the regular season.

Talk a lot, say little

'Tis the season for NFL general managers to talk and talk and talk ... and say little.

With the scouting combine coming up next week in Indianapolis, free agency starting on March 13 and the draft arriving in late April, every team is scrambling to get better. And tipping one's hand to the competition via tweet-crazed reporters isn't the best avenue for success.

So until the action actually starts, here is a shining example of a cover-all-your-bases answer one can expect, compliments of Spielman when asked if the Vikings will have salary cap space to make a splashy move in free agency:

"We'll have cap space if we need to do what we need to do. If we do something."

Sorry, SuperFreak

For the few who hadn't already guessed it, the Vikings have no interest in having receiver Randy Moss play for them for a third time. Moss, who was out of football in 2011, announced on Monday, his 35th birthday, that he wants to return to the NFL.

"We'll be moving on," Spielman said when asked about Moss. "Randy was a great player. But again our focus is more on trying to get a young team."

Etc.

• Spielman on being able to trade the No. 3 overall pick now as opposed to past years: "I think with the new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and the rookie pool, it makes it a lot easier to make trades when you're in the top three because before, no one wanted to come up there because of the financial commitment."

• Spielman said the Vikings are talking to pending free agent quarterback Sage Rosenfels about returning in 2012. Spielman also said the team is considering going with only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and having another one on the practice squad.

• Spielman on the team's top needs: "We've got a couple of areas we think we have big needs. More than one." Which ones? "The ones you guys write about," he said.

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