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.


Webb, Ponder get to know each other

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Brad Childress, Darrell Bevell, Brad Childress, Darrell Bevell, Vikings quarterbacks Updated: May 25, 2011 - 7:58 AM

As we mentioned in a story and blog post on Monday, Vikings quarterbacks Joe Webb and rookie Christian Ponder are training together at IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

The two quarterbacks met for the first time on Tuesday.

"A real cool guy," Webb said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "We’re just trying to get to know each other on a personal level. It was fun meeting him for the first time."

The two also are digesting the Vikings playbook with the help of former NFL quarterback Chris Weinke, director of the football academy. The two quarterbacks normally would be learning the new system during OTAs and minicamps but they're forced to take a different approach because of the lockout.

Webb said he's happy that he gets to spend time training with Ponder and getting to know him before the NFL returns to business.

"You can build that chemistry and the relationship," Webb said. "No matter who wins the job, both of us are going to need one another during the season. If I win the job, he’ll be on the sideline looking at things. If he wins the job, then I’ll be looking at the defenses. No matter what, it’s good for us to be down here working together and getting in the playbook together."

Webb said he likes Musgrave's system in part because it features much less verbiage than the West Coast offense used by Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell. In a story late last season, Bevell joked about the extensive verbiage in West Coast play calls.

"The best thing about the West Coast offense is we tell everybody where to go and everybody what to do [in the play call]," he said. "The worst thing about the West Coast offense is we tell everybody where to go and everybody what to do."

Webb said Musgrave's system is easier to process.

"The verbiage is a lot shorter," he said. "With Coach Musgrave’s, it allows you to play fast. You just call at the most three, four words and you have a whole play. It just allows you to not worry about calling the play but worry about executing the play. Last year I was more worried about getting the play called right in the huddle so everyone knew what to do. It also affected my game on the field."

Webb hopes to have a pretty good grasp of the playbook when the NFL opens for business again. He appreciates the work he's getting at IMG, but he knows it's not ideal.

"I’m working with Chris Weinke and he’s a great coach," he said. "He’s helping me. But at the same time, it would be better if I were working with Craig Johnson, my quarterback coach in Minnesota. He can be showing me some things that I can relate to. [The lockout] is kind of frustrating but you just try and stay positive and get the most of out this offseason." 

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