The Vikings did not pick up quarterback Christian Ponder’s fifth-year option, meaning their 2011 first-round pick can become a free agent after the 2014 season.
The option, had it been picked up, would have activated a fifth year of his rookie contract. He would have been scheduled to make $9.686 million in 2015, but that salary only would have been guaranteed for injury.
‘‘The option doesn’t really mean much because they can cut me without anything after this year,” said Ponder on Wednesday, adding that he wasn’t dwelling on his contract status.
The Vikings had to exercise the option, which teams are now given after selecting a first-round pick, before Saturday. The team made the decision Friday.
The team-friendly options were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.
This is the first year teams have had to make these decisions.
Twenty-one of the 32 first-round picks from that year had their options exercised. But not Ponder, the No. 12 pick.