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.


Ponder consistently inconsistent

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: July 29, 2013 - 5:47 PM

MANKATO -- Yes, it's still early. Yes, it's hard to compile statistics, let alone judge them when it's not live action and a team is in its third day of training camp.

But, yes, it's also safe to say Christian Ponder is still consistently inconsistent when it comes to throwing a football. Part of the problem on Monday came from the pressure Ponder felt up front as the players put pads on for the first time in camp. Granted, no one can hit Ponder, and there was no tackling, but Ponder had difficulty throwing accurately or sometimes at all as the defense swarmed around him.

In today's 11-on-11 competition, Ponder completed 4 of 12 passes. He was "sacked" twice, had one pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and threw another ball away because of pressure. He also had one drop by rookie free agent fullback Zach Line, who was subbing for Jerome Felton, who missed part of practice to attend to a personal matter, according to coach Leslie Frazier.

Ponder also had a deep ball to Jerome Simpson come down about four yards out of bounds. Three of Ponder's completions went to Jarius Wright, including two that were decent throws for touchdowns in red-zone situations.

Ponder's backup, Matt Cassel, completed 8 of 11 passes during 11 on 11 competition. He also had one drop. Stephen Burton, a receiver on the bubble, was the highlight of today's practice. He and caught two deep balls, one in fairly tight coverage and the other against a blown coverage. His third catch came at the goal line when he held on despite taking a hard hit to the back as he caught the ball and stepped into the end zone.

The Vikings return to practice tomorrow with a morning walkthrough. They'll do some live tackling during tomorrow's afternoon practice, which starts at 2:30.

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