By: Mike Florio
With the lockout still in place and players not permitted to interact with coaches, Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder is getting more and more antsy about his inability to work with the team.
Ponder has arrived in Minnesota, looking for a place to live. And he has passed by the team’s headquarters in Eden Prairie on numerous occasions.
“I can’t tell you how many times we drove by Winter Park and couldn’t do anything,” Ponder tells Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s definitely awkward. It’s a weird deal. I want to go talk to [offensive coordinator Bill] Musgrave, talk some ball so bad. But obviously I can’t do it, so it’s a little frustrating.”
Ponder is frustrated in part because he hopes to be able to start in Week One of his rookie season.
“It definitely would be tough,” Ponder said. “It’s already going to be tough after I missed the minicamps and all that stuff and then [we could] miss some training camp. It’s going to make my job tougher.
“But my goal is to be able to start, and I’m doing everything to make myself prepared. I trust the coaches and what they’re going to do with me. They are going to put me in the best situation and do whatever is best for everybody. We’ll see how it plays out, but I’m working my butt off to start.”
His work during the lockout included working with former NFL quarterback Chris Weinke, who helped Ponder clean up a bad habit he had developed.
“I kind of had developed a little loop in my throw where I was dropping the ball a little bit and dropped my release point as well,” Ponder said. “We did a lot of drills to work on that. I was throwing the ball well already, but it’s little things like that that help out. Especially at the NFL level. Dropping the ball too low can result in a fumble and can throw your timing off. We fixed that and it was good.”
It’ll be even better when he can show that throwing motion to Musgrave and the rest of the coaches. Even after the lockout ends, Ponder first will need to sign a contract before he can attend training camp. Unless the NFL squeezes in a quick minicamp that rookies would attend without first inking their deals.