As Christian Ponder himself acknowledged last week, a preseason trade that ships him out of Minnesota is probably unlikely, so the third-string signal-caller is making the most of the practice reps he gets as he adjusts to new offensive coordinator Norv Turner‘s offense. Still, if the Vikings were able to find a deal with another team intent on moving Ponder up higher on its depth chart, the former first-round pick would welcome it, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
“If something happens – I get traded, or there’s an opportunity elsewhere to play – I want to play,” Ponder said. “But this is where I am right now. I can’t control it.”
Ponder added that there are “a lot of benefits” to remaining in Minnesota, where he feels like he’s learning a lot in a less stressful situation. Still, for a player who has started 35 games in his first three NFL seasons, heading into a contract year behind both Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater on the Vikings’ depth chart isn’t an ideal situation, and it’s likely not what the team wants either. A report in June suggested the Vikes had interest in dealing Ponder — a trade could save the club from paying his salary and potentially bring back another asset, either in the form of a player or a future draft pick.
For now, Ponder is preparing for the season as if he’ll be wearing a Vikings uniform. While an opportunity to play may not arise in Minnesota or elsewhere during the 2014 season, the 26-year-old is already considering how to earn more playing time down the road, as he tells Pelissero.
“I’ve got to go to the right situation, and there obviously are things I’ve got to improve upon in my play,” Ponder said. “The turnovers were big with my three years as a starter. That’s something I’ve got to change — and keep developing the mental side of the game. That’s something that Norv and [Vikings quarterback coach] Scott [Turner] really preach.”