Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder: An Exclusive Interview
And today I put it all together in a neat little package for all of your news hungry kiddies.
We discussed several topics such as his work with Gridiron Grunts (a great app you should definitely check out), the team, how things are going thus far and much more.
For a short preview, Ponder seemed very comfortable being a potential starting quarterback, and had an extreme level of confidence for the upcoming 2011/12 NFL season.
Read further to see what I am talking about, and look for more pieces this weekend covering my time spent with Ponder.
You’ve recently become a new addition in a long line of players working with Gridiron Grunts and their latest iOS app, which allows players to address a sort of information gap for the fans; tell us a little about that and how it works.
“Basically it’s interactive for us and the fans, it’s like a Twitter account almost (using audio). It’s one thing to read something, but to hear someone’s voice and make it personnel, it’s pretty cool.”
So this is a great way (with the vocal application to it) for the fans to keep abreast of camp progress, opening day jitters and other news about their favorite players?
“Yeah, and it’s cool because it’s only a limited amount of people who have access to it right now—everyone can have access to it, but not everyone has done so, and with the whole lockout everyone’s hungry for football and to hear from the players and it’s another way to do it.”
How has the acclimation process gone so far as the new star player in Minnesota (fans, players etc)?
“It’s coming along. I think from a fan base, when I got drafted, people weren’t really sure what they thought about me, so with Gridiron Grunts and Twitter and the interviews I am doing, I’m just trying to get myself out there. Also, I’ve spoken with a lot of guys and tried to show points of leadership.
This past week we just had a little minicamp to have players come down to do some practices and workouts for a couple of days, which went well and I got to interact for the first time and I know we’re going to keep doing it for the rest of the summer.”
Are the previous injuries suffered at Florida State (elbow and shoulder) behind you?
“Yeah, I think those injuries are completely behind me. I’m 100 percent healed from those and I learned (through what I went through) to not put myself into a position to get hurt.
Obviously it’s a whole different level playing in the NFL, and those guys are bigger, stronger and faster so, I’ve learned to protect myself and not put myself out there.”
Are there any quarterbacks you sort of look up to up for their intelligence?
“Well, growing up, I was the biggest fan of John Elway and he was kinda my idol growing up. You know, playing football in the backyard always wanting to be John Elway and I wear No. 7 and that’s the exact reason why.
But my whole football I.Q. is because of “Jimbo,” coach Fisher, my head coach at Florida State. He’s the one that really helped me out and helped me understand the quarterback position and understand the game in general.”
What areas do you think you he can help the Vikings immediately in 2011?
Should Ponder Start This Year?
“Well hopefully I can help them out by being a starting quarterback...”
—Do you want to be a starting quarterback right off the bat?
“...I would love to be. I think it’s kinda everyone’s goal and that’s what I’m shooting for in week one, but if that doesn’t happen so be it, I’ll play whatever role I have to play in the upcoming season.”
Any defensive linemen you’re not looking forward being hit by?
"Ah, I dunno. I think any defender on an NFL team would probably not be the kind of guy you would want to take a hit from.
I think everybody’s hyping up the Detroit Lions with (Ndamukong) Suh, so I know they’re gonna be tough to face.”
How easier do you think things will be with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart in the backfield?
“A strong running game is really a quarterback’s best friend because when defenses know you have a great running game with a great running back they’re gonna look for ways to defend it, and once that happens, it opens up the passing game...so I think it relieves a lot of pressure and I’ll be enjoying handing off the ball to the guys who make my life a lot easier.”
Off the record, we also touched on the possible addition of the two-tight-end sets Bill Musgrave will be introducing and Ponder said, “Having all of those weapons surrounding me (whether the ball is going to Harvin, Shiancoe, Peterson etc.) it makes the defense more aware of those weapons, and when they try to defend one, it will leave another option vulnerable,” which is precisely what make this Vikings team so dangerous heading into the 2011 season.
Also, as one final highlight with Gridiron Grunts, Ponder also made a great mention, saying, “You saw how Twitter blew up suddenly and how many people were using it as it got bigger and bigger and I think it’s going to be the same with this (Gridiron Grunts).”
After speaking with Ponder, I get the feeling the guy is ready, and chomping at the bit to contribute to a team that already has a ton of positive pieces in place for a postseason run.
A big thanks, again, to Christian Ponder for giving me his personal time and Gridiron Grunts for allowing me to mention their exciting new app that should—in time—change how fans interact with the pros on a more personal level.
Be sure to come check me out here if you are a fantasy football fan, and be on the lookout for more on Christian Ponder this weekend.
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