Ponder was in the running to be the team’s starter earlier this offseason, sharing first-team reps, writes Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. More recently, he has been relegated to the third string as Matt Cassel and first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater continue to compete for the starting spot.
While he would like a chance to start, he is saying the right things as he has accepted his current role with the team, according to Tomasson.
“I’m learning so much right now. I do feel like it’s beneficial for me to be right here right now,” said Ponder. “As a competitor, though, you want to be the guy that’s out there playing. But I do feel like in the situation I’m in right now, I am getting better though I’m not playing.”
Here are some other notes from around Vikings organization:
- Ponder may no longer be in contention in Minnesota, but the team has yet to announce an official depth chart at quarterback. However, offensive coordinator Norv Turner may have revealed a bit about his selection process, writes Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star-Tribune. Cassel will start the season opener, and will remain the start if he is healthy and performing well. Bridgewater will be inserted into the lineup only when he is ready. “I know Teddy’s getting himself ready to play,” said Turner. “And he’s got to be ready to play, because this league is tough on quarterbacks. You can be in there real fast.’’
- New head coach Mike Zimmer is enjoying his new chess pieces on defense, trying to balance his versatile players while installing his fundamental system, writes Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. “It’s a little bit of, ‘What can the guy do and still be effective?'” Zimmer said. “Once I feel like we have the fundamentals down and the techniques down, then you can worry about tricking somebody else or disguising. You don’t always have guys like Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Brian Robison that can do a number of different things. Those three guys can stand up and drop, play outside linebacker and rush.”
- Linebacker Chad Greenway missed practice with a wrist injury, allowing second-year player Michael Mauti to get some extra reps, writes Matt Vensel of the Minnesota Star-Tribune. Mauti is still on the bubble, but a strong performance in Greenway’s absence could go a long way to help him make the team.
- While Mauti fights to make the team, and Zimmer tries to find ways to use his other defensive players, the Vikings are still looking for a third linebacker to step up and take the middle linebacker spot, writes Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com. Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole are fighting to earn that spot. “Jasper seems to be a little bit more communicative and Audie seems to have a little more range. As far as the running game they’re very close and the passing game they’re similar,” Zimmer said. “You have to look at all the different things: how it affects the rest of the guys on the team; you have to look at their blitz ability; their communication on different formations that you get. There’s so many variables with that position that goes into it that you just kind of overall look at it.”
- Griffen is not letting any of the scheme and roster uncertainty get in the way of the basics, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. After signing a huge contract to remain with the team, he knows the basic philosophy of the defense will be to get after the football. “We’re going to be in attack mode and we’re going to be able to play,” Griffen said. “Just go out there and have fun. Football’s fun.”