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Ponder Discusses Becoming A Viking

Posted Apr 28, 2011

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011

First-Round Draft Pick Christian Ponder

Q:  Were you surprised to be selected with the 12th pick?

A: I really had no idea what was going to happen with the draft. You know how crazy it is. I am overly thrilled about it.

Q:  What feel did you get from the Vikings after you worked out for them?

A: I felt the whole interview went great. The whole process was good. I was really impressed with Coach Musgrave and what he was doing on offense, Coach Frazier and Rick Spielman came in as well. I wasn’t sure how interested they were going to be but I thought the whole process went well.

Q:  What did you do with the Vikings when they were visiting you on campus?

A: We spent probably an hour in the film room, drawing on the board and going over plays. Went and did a 45-minute throwing session. We grabbed dinner the night before. We spent a decent amount of time together.

Q:  Did you get any sense on whatt the Vikings want to do on offense and how you will fit in?

A: Me personally, I don’t know what role I’m going to have going in. Obviously they have two quarterbacks on the roster right now and I don’t know if they are going to bring anyone else in. Whatever role I have, I will be prepared for. Offensively, the stuff we were going over on the board when they came in was very similar to what we were doing at Florida State, conceptually. That is a good thing for me as I feel like I am really prepared for what is going to go on in the next level with what we did at Florida State.

Q:  How important to you was it to show teams that the arm issues you had were no longer a problem?

A: I think it was huge. I knew it was a big concern. Definitely my health was what guys were worried about. I think I was mislabeled as injury prone. I mean everything was bad luck. I had a third degree separation on my AC joint in my junior year and that was from throwing an interception and tackling the guy cause I was mad and then with the forearm elbow injury I had this past year was just a freak deal that wasn’t a major injury, it was just a nuisance but I will tell you once the season was done and going into the senior bowl, going into the combine and then the private workouts and the pro day, I knew that I had to show that I was healthy and that my arm was back and I was fine.

Q:  Did you have three surgeries during the season on the elbow or when were the surgeries?

A: No, well first it wasn’t my elbow, it was my forearm. It was probably four inches below my elbow so it was never my elbow and it wasn’t anything structural, it was basically fluid kept building up so I’d go drain it and I’d probably get it drained once a week with a needle but then at the end of the season they went in surgically and cleaned it up and got it ready to heal up after the ACC Championship Game and by the bowl game I was healed. I was fine.

Q: What do you think you were able to do in the draft process to prove that the durability and the arm strength issues were not an issue for you?

A: Well I think the biggest thing was the Senior Bowl and be able to get out in a live game and show that I was healthy and show that I could perform and make all the throws and even with the week of practice, going into the game and earning MVP, I think that was the start of it and after that just showing the guys during individual workouts what they wanted me to throw and at the pro day, what they asked me to throw and I threw everything and I thought it went well.

Q: With the labor situation going on right now, how important is it to get up here while you can and at least get the playbook and talk to Bill Musgrave and rest of the offensive coaches?

A: Yeah, it’s going to be huge and for me as a rookie quarterback, it’s all about putting in my time and getting myself prepared for whatever role I’m going to have this coming season. So I know I’m going up there tomorrow and  I already asked coach if I was going to have a playbook and he said yeah, there will be one ready for me and we’re going to talk some ball once I get up there so I’m excited about it, that starting tomorrow I’ll be working on getting myself prepared.

Q: Does it make it a little easier for you knowing that you have Adrian Peterson behind you?

A: Yeah, you know one of the best running backs in the league is definitely not a negative to have and along with Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, I mean there are definitely a lot of weapons at my disposal.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to any of your future teammates yet?

A: No, I haven’t. From the moment I’ve been drafted this whole thing has been crazy so I will definitely try to get in touch with a lot of guys as soon as possible. Hopefully I will see some guys at the facility tomorrow.

Q: They talk so much leading up to draft about finding a franchise quarterback. Do you sense the kind of the pressure that’s going to come with that, that you’re walking in to?

A: I dealt with being the face of Florida State and handling the pressure there.  Obviously, it’s a whole other level in the NFL. I don’t think anyone puts as much pressure on me, than I will myself.  I’m a perfectionist and I know I’m going to put my time in to prepare.  When I make a mistake, I’m going to learn from it.  Nobody’s expectations exceed mine.

Q: Did you have any idea where you might have gone? Was it late first round or maybe early second? What were you thinking?

A: I wasn’t sure. I heard from basically the number eight pick to anywhere to middle of the second.  So, I really had no idea. I’m just happy it worked out this way.

Q: Did you have any idea what teams might have chosen you?

A:  You know I heard basically I talked to 10 to 15 teams during the whole process.  I wasn’t sure and I really had no clue? Just talking to my agent, we talked about Minnesota.  We weren’t really sure?  I’m loving every minute of it.  I’m extremely excited to be a Minnesota Viking.

Q: How many teams did you have private workouts with?

A: I probably had seven or eight workouts with a bunch of different teams.

Q: As an owner of an MBA what do think of the NFL’s labor situation?

A: I don’t know, I’m just ready for it to be resolved and I’m ready to get to work and get prepared for next season.

Q: Were you invited to New York for the draft and why didn’t you go?

A: I was invited. 

Q: Why didn’t you attend the NFL Draft in New York?

A: I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. My view was that I would rather be home with my family in a relaxed environment and get picked in the first round and be a little disappointed that I didn’t go to New York then be in New York, you have to wait until the second.  I’m excited about the decision to stay home and be with my close friends and keeping it low key.