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.


Camp Ponder an alternative if lockout continues

Posted by: under Vikings, NFL draft, Leslie Frazier, Vikings fans, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: April 29, 2011 - 5:18 PM

If the lockout does continue, Vikings first-round pick Christian Ponder will begin reaching out to his new teammates on offense to try to set up workouts.

"I guess it just depends on what the circumstances are going to be," said Ponder, who had his introductory news conference today at Winter Park. "Hopefully, the next couple of days [I can] get in touch with as many guys as possible, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and I've already talked to Percy [Harvin].

"I've got to get to know the rest of the guys and hopefully be able to interact with them up here and if not some sort of way. Me and Percy have already talked about getting together and throwing down in Florida if this lockout is going on and hopefully getting some more guys down there and meeting them somewhere."

The quarterback from Florida State was taken with the 12th pick by the Vikings on Thursday. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said today that he would like to see the Vikings add a veteran quarterback but that doesn't mean Ponder might not be the starter on Sept. 11 at San Diego.

Asked about playing behind a veteran and learning from him, Ponder said: "Obviously, you can see the advantage of that but my goal is to start right away. I think that's anyone's [goal]. Maybe somone wants to sit back and learn a little bit but I'm going to prepare myself that way and I know that it's really what I do leading up to that point that's going to determine my success rate. So I'm going to do as much as possible, given the circumstances, to get to that point and be prepared."

With the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals still not having ruled on whether it will grant a stay on the decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson that ended the lockout, today is a very odd one in the NFL. Teams were going to be allowed to bring in their first-round picks for news conferences, even if the lockout was still in effect, but the real question is if teams are now trying to get their players playbooks as quickly as possible in case the lockout is reinstated.

This is especially true for Ponder because he's a quarterback and if he's going to be the starter on Sept. 11, the Vikings need to get all the time they can with him.

"We do have some things we want to give to him to take back with him," coach Leslie Frazier said when asked about the subject. "I know he had a chance to talk with Percy a little bit ago as well. He's going to take some information back but they'll get a chance to workout together depending on what happens with this lockout. We'll definitely put some things in his hand to take back.

"We don't know how long this window will be open so we have to take advantage of every moment and try to get him the information that we think he'll need to come back, whenever he comes back, with a working knowledge of what we're trying to get accomplished. You do feel a sense of urgency about getting information out. We've done that with some other players as well just trying to get some things in their hands."

Ponder appeared very confident and yet not cocky as he addressed the media, even beginning with his own opening statement after Frazier introduced him.

Some Vikings fans at the team's draft party on Thursday booed the pick and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was very critical of Ponder today in a radio interview. Asked about the criticism, Ponder seemed more than willing to roll with the punches.

“No. 1, I have to earn my respect," he said. "From the fans, from my teammates. There’s a lot of uncertainty with any pick in the draft so I know that my personal level I’m going to put in my time to earn that respect and I’m going to do what I have to do. I know what comes with this role and I’m going to prepare myself for it and I’ll be fine.”
 

 

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