Ponder plans to keep workouts coming

Christian Ponder (Photo courtesy IMG Academies)

Christian Ponder plans to work out at Larry Fitzgerald's camp through Tuesday even if the lockout is lifted in the next couple days.

Christian Ponder plans to continue working out at Larry Fitzgerald's conditioning camp early next week even if the lockout of NFL players ends.

The Vikings' rookie quarterback said Thursday that he would likely work out at the University of Minnesota campus with Fitzgerald and others in the morning and then head to the Vikings' Winter Park headquarters in the afternoons to watch film and study the playbook with coaches.

"I don't know how much work I'd be able to get done; I don't know who would show up at the facility," Ponder said.

Players are expected to take a vote whether or not to approve the proposed collective bargaining agreement in a conference call at 7 p.m. Thursday, but it's unclear how quickly the NFL would be able to return to business with players scattered throughout the country and labor-related lawsuits potentially still lingering.

In the meantime, Ponder started working out in Minnesota this week after taking a couple weeks off.

"It's good being out here with these guys. A lot of NFL guys here pushing each other, which has been great. It's been good to come out here and throw with all these guys," he said after Thursday's workout. "It's a little different than throwing with college guys. I had some guys to throw to down at IMG [in Florida], but a lot more guys here, which is good."

Ponder took his dog for a two-mile run Thursday morning and still completed the 24 110-yard gassers (with 40 seconds rest in between) at Fitzgerald's workout a few hours later.

"It was wonderful. I had to take care of the dog, take him for a run this morning so he wasn't going nuts. That was good," he said. "My legs were definitely dead halfway through those 110s. It definitely was good getting myself back in shape."

On Thursday, fellow Vikings quarterback Rhett Bomar and center Jon Cooper joined others – like receiver Jaymar Johnson, linebacker Jasper Brinkley and defensive end Brian Robison – who had been working out there since at least Monday. Rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph, who worked out Monday and Tuesday, wasn't at Thursday's session, and other players talked of taking a break before the anticipated physical grind of training camp starts. Players are scheduled to report to camp on July 31 if the lockout ends soon.

But Ponder is in a bit of a different position. He is the rookie quarterback who hasn't had a chance to talk to his position coaches since the day after he was drafted because of the lockout.

"Once this thing gets lifted, I'm definitely going to head straight to the facility, give [offensive coordinator Bill] Musgrave a call and sit down with him and hopefully talk some ball and keep this going until it ends," Ponder said.

"It's been a completely different situation. The good thing for me is to get around guys that have been through it, get around Larry and Tarvaris [Jackson] and all the other guys that know what to do and what to expect. They've been pushing me hard. It's been great. I've been fortunate out here and very fortunate that Larry puts this on for us. It's been great."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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