Friday, May 20, 2011

Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder dishes on going #12, the criticism, the lockout and his ex-girlfriend

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has a goal to be the team's week one starter when the Vikings travel to San Diego. During an interview with ESPN's Colin Cowherd Friday morning, Ponder discussed being the Vikings number one guy, the criticism of him being drafted #12, how the lockout has impacted his off season preparations and his plans to organize practices with his new Vikings teammates. And oh yeah, his ex-girlfriend too.

Below is a transcript of Ponder's responses on the Thundering Herd.

On being drafted #12 by the Minnesota Vikings:

"I wasn't too shocked. With the private conversations I had with my agent, we heard a lot of good things leading up to the week of the draft. Really wasn't sure what was going to happen, but had good idea, and had a good feel of what was going to happen. I was pretty optimistic about it and once I heard my name called at twelve...just excited. I think a lot of people were shocked by it."

On the criticism of him getting picked #12:

"I don't make anything of it. I have my own expectations for myself and the pick happened and I'm going to take full advantage of the opportunity. I know what I can do, I know what my personal feeling is and everything and I think I deserve that pick. And I'm do everything I can to make sure that no one regrets it."

On what made him move up NFL draft boards:

"I think throughout the whole process I really took advantage of each opportunity I was given, starting with the Senior Bowl. Went out and had the MVP of the game, and the whole week went well for me. Did well at the Combine, did really well at the interviews at the Combine and the private workouts and I think I really connected with all the coaching staff that came down to Florida State during a private workout after the Combine. I think the whole thing went well...and I was really comfortable with the guys. Whatever I did, obviously they liked it and I felt good about it."

On his level of concern about learning the playbook, missing OTAs -- due to the lockout:

"I can't be concerned about it, it is what it is I can't change it. But I'm taking full advantage of the opportunities right now, talking to a lot of the guys, we're setting up practices in the next couple of weeks to get together and go over stuff and put in some work. I know a lot of other teams have already gotten started, so we're kind of behind the eight ball, but I'm doing everything I can to prepare myself. My mindset is that I'm going to start by week one and do everything possible to make sure that I'll be successful against San Diego that first week."

On playing for the Vikings and not being forced to be a superstar his rookie season:

"I really don't, supporting cast around me makes my job a lot easier and it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I stepping into such a great situation and a lot of the quarterbacks that I know, that have gone to teams that are kind of rebuilding everything. I begin an opportunity where it's a team that can compete and a lot of great pieces around me and it makes me excited. Also, again, it takes a lot of pressure off me to perform. I just gotta get the ball to these guys let them do the dirty work."

On working out with teammates in Florida:

"Yeah, that's the plan. The plan is to get a bunch of guys over in Tampa. After this rookie premiere deal this week I'm heading to Bradenton, which is just south of Tampa to train and we've already talked about meeting in Tampa to get things going and working out together and get that chemistry going."

On being a high profile NFL quarterback (including pictures of your girlfriend popping up on the Internet):

"Boy, it's crazy. The worst part about it, it's actually my ex-girlfriend. There's a blog that put out this big story about her being my girlfriend, and then like, we broke up a couple of days before that and so I don't know. It's a crazy mess. Every thing's under a microscope and every move that you make is judged and not whole lot of private life, I mean, it just comes with the territory. But, it's going to be something to try and enjoy."

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