2013 Training Camp - Christian Ponder

(Photo by Chris Price.)

Vikings players reported to training camp this past Thursday and two days in we already have some catching up to do. Though the first two sessions were without pads, there are still some interesting notes from Friday and Saturday.

  • Let’s talk health first… Through the first two days of camp, the Vikings have emerged relatively unscathed. The biggest piece of injury related news was that nose tackle Letroy Guion was forced to leave the first day of camp with a right elbow injury. Guion, who is presently in competition for his spot with backup Fred Evans, had x-rays done that night to determine the severity of the injury. Luckily, the images came back negative and he should be participating again soon.
  • Now on to Christian Ponder as he has been the primary focus of media and fans the first two sessions. The word out of camp so far isn’t good for #7. Talk has been that Ponder has struggled early with accuracy and often checking down to his tight ends. Ponder threw an interception to Blanton in passing drills, an almost-interception on a pass to Greg Jennings which was dropped by Jamarca Sanford, etc… And apparently, struggles in the passing game continued into Day 2. It’s worth noting that the weather has been nasty at Mankato with some pretty strong gusts. Of his performance and the weather, Ponder told reporters, “The first day was tough with the wind especially… On certain throws, you try to [put] touch on the ball, and if you do that it’s gone. A couple hung in the air and the wind took them away and it looked like some bad plays. It’s going to happen.” Kevin Seifert of ESPN North notes that Ponder did have some nice passes if you’re a glass half full kind of guy.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has already become a fan favorite at camp with a pretty nice sideline, one-handed grab. Even with some very close coverage from Safety Andrew Sendejo, Patterson was still able to snag the long pass from Ponder and stay in bounds. You can check out the practice highlight  here.
  • Newly converted Wide Receiver Joe Webb has impressed so far. Reports are that Webb has impeccable hands and great athleticism (that part we already knew) snagging everything thrown his way. Webb will still need to work on his route running and some of the other intricacies of being an NFL receiver. “He can catch the ball,” veteran teammate Greg Jennings said. “And that’s the first hurdle. If you can’t catch, you can’t be taught.”
  • Xavier Rhodes took reps with the second team today while Josh Robinson spent time with the starters. It’s expected that Rhodes will eventually take that spot and Robinson will move into the nickel after Rhodes becomes acclimated to NFL ball.
  • As mentioned above, Safety Robert Blanton picked off one of Ponder’s throws on Day 1 and has overall been impressive. Our look at Camp Battle for the Safety position will be up soon but it is interesting that Blanton is being somewhat overlooked as a potential starter next to his fellow Notre Dame alum Harrison Smith.
  • MVP Adrian Peterson donned a helmet cam for Friday’s workout to give fans a first person view from the NFL’s best running back. You’ll see players being  goofy, a dropped pass from #28 himself, some interesting drills involving soccer balls an Peterson just generally being the beast that he is.
  • Thought today’s practice is not over, we already have an interesting note from head coach Leslie Frazier regarding veteran Kevin Williams’ playing time. ”We’re going to have to see how the other guys come along,” Frazier said. “But if we have 30-35 good snaps from Kevin, that would be terrific. Meaning someone else getting 20 to 25 snaps, maybe, split between one or two other guys.” That “someone else” is likely to be first round selection Sharrif Floyd. Reports have been relatively quiet about Floyd so far but we are likely to hear more as camp progresses and the players get into full pads (which starts today).

We’ll continue to provide coverage of Vikings Training Camp here at Vikings Territory. You will even get some first hand notes from me when I attend my first Vikings training camp this Friday. I will be in Minnesota visiting some family and will definitely be at Mankato to see the team work. (On a side note, does anyone have any recommendations, tips, etc?)

[Edit: I'd like to take a second to thank Chris Price who has provided Vikings Territory with some awesome photos he has taken himself at Vikings Training Camp. Much appreciated, Chris!]