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.


Christian Ponder named as first VCF Rookie of the Year

Posted by: under Off the field, Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: June 13, 2012 - 1:36 PM

Quarterback Christian Ponder has been named the inaugural winner of the Vikings Children's Fund Rookie of the Year Award, an honor conceived by head coach Leslie Frazier to recognize a first-year player for the way he carries himself on and off the field.

The new award, with a heavy focus on community involvement, will be given annually going forward. And the announcement that Ponder is being recognized as the 2011 recipient was made this afternoon at the team's golf tournament at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove. Ponder will receive a trophy and a $5,000 donation will be made in his name to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital.

"I knew coming into the league, wherever I was going to get drafted, I was going to try to [immerse] myself into the community where I was living," Ponder said. "And Minnesota has been so great to me, I wanted to do as much as possible to give back. And there are so many opportunities to do that. Especially when you're a Minnesota Viking, people want to have you out all the time. It's gun. I really enjoy doing it."

Frazier said he believes Ponder's charisma and extracurricular involvement can be important to setting a tone with the team going forward. The Vikings' coach also felt strongly about creating the VCF Rookie of the Year award.

"I was really surprised when I got here that this wasn't done," he said. "Most places you recognize the top rookie on your team each year, whether you do that internally or externally. And it was something we talked about with the Wilfs and they agreed it was a good idea."

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
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Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
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Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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