"It's been fun," Ponder said. "The first couple of weeks were lazy. It's probably the best way to describe it, sitting on the couch playing ‘Call of Duty' every now and again. I went back home to Dallas for a couple of days to visit family and went to Indianapolis (the site of this year's Super Bowl) for a few days. It's been good."
Ponder has looked outside the regular training box, trying several approaches to keeping in shape, including something called "hot yoga." Seeing that an explanation of that odd-sounding phrase is likely needed, it is a form of yoga developed in the early 1970s by Bikram Choudhury – which combines the classic yoga stretching exercises done in extremely hot and humid conditions.
"I've been doing some interesting things, trying some new things," Ponder said. "I went and did some hot yoga for the first time, which was actually good. I've only done it once, because I kind of ran out of time and got busy. But I'm going to start doing it full-time this week. It's fun just trying to do some different things. You're always looking for a competitive advantage. One thing we have to work on is flexibility."
Ponder is eager to get back to work, an offseason process he was denied last year due to the lockout that prevented teams and coaches from having contact with players. His rookie year was a learning experience, but one that Ponder believes was merely the building block to the foundation of his career.
"I learned a lot," Ponder said. "A lot happened that first season. A lot of mistakes I made I can learn from. I got a lot of (game) film of myself that I can watch and learn from everything. My biggest thing is that – a lot of people ask that question – is it better for you to sit and watch or to go out and do it? I'm a guy that's hands-on. I need to go out and do it and learn from my mistakes that I've made. It's one thing to watch someone else do it, but when you go out and do it, it sticks in your mind and you learn from that experience."
In an update on the injuries that eventually shut Ponder down for the end of the 2011 season, he said that both his hip and concussion injuries have healed and that he is ready to go. He has plans to take a vacation to a warmer climate at some time during what remains of the weakest winter in many Minnesotans' memories. But perhaps the most important thing Ponder said during his Winter Park sit-down was that he plans to be a part of Vikings country now and well into the future.
"I'm sticking around here pretty much," Ponder said of his offseason plans. "This is home base for me now, hopefully for the next 15 years."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.