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IMG Academy football program trainees Ponder and Newton face off this weekend

Christian Ponder

Two rookie quarterbacks who spent the off-season training at IMG Academy will go head-to-head this Sunday when Christian Ponder takes his Minnesota Vikings to the East Coast to play the Carolina Panthers and their star rookie, Cam Newton. Both teams are rebuilding around their new quarterbacks and this game will provide a good look at how each will do as the season progresses.

While they will be on opposite sides of the field this weekend, both players gained respect for each other during their training at IMG Academy.

From the Charlotte Observer:

For the few weeks they trained together at the IMG Academy in Florida, Christian Ponder always knew when he could find Cam Newton - first thing in the morning.

“It was great to have him so he could push me. I think we're so competitive we always try to one-up the other guy,” Ponder said Wednesday. “The earlier he would come in to throw and watch film, the earlier I would try to get there. He's really competitive and he's well-natured, and I enjoyed being with him..."

“I call him Ponderosa. Good guy, man,” Newton said. “We had a couple weeks to get to know each other, along with that whole draft process. Not only me and Christian, but every (quarterback). You hear so much about each other, to have an opportunity to work out on a day-to-day basis with each other, it's amazing. He's a good guy. And his work ethic is unbelievable.”

From the Pioneer Press:

Christian Ponder got an up-close look at Cam Newton's physical prowess over the summer while the two worked out at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Ponder, the Vikings' starting quarterback, is an adequate athlete for a quarterback, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and can scramble for first downs, when necessary. But he quickly learned his speed paled in comparison to what Newton can do with his 6-foot-5, 248-pound frame.

"With how big he is and how fast he is, he really is a physical freak," said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ponder of the Carolina Panthers' starter. "I'd like to say I'm as athletic as him, but probably not."

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