Much was made about the lack of veteran participation at the recent camp that young Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Joe Webb put together in Florida. Well, this week, they finally had an established teammate to whom they could throw.
Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe joined the quarterbacks at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, working with Ponder, a first-round draft pick, and Webb, who was forced into starting as a rookie late last season because of injuries to Minnesota's other signal-callers.
The sessions have included strength and speed work in the morning. In the afternoon, the players go over routes, then do film study with former NFL quarterback Chris Weinke, who has been working with Ponder and Webb.
Shiancoe said no other veterans were there, but he believed he benefited from working with Ponder and Webb. Shiancoe said they worked very hard, and the study portion was imperative, helping the youngsters go over the Vikings' offense.
"We really went over the playbook," Shiancoe said.
Earlier this month, Ponder told the Star Tribune that his personal workouts were going well, but he really wanted to work out with his new Vikings teammates. Ponder particularly was interested in working with the receivers, especially Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian, but that hasn't happened.
"We've already talked to those guys, and sometime soon we'll be getting together," Ponder said June 8. "It will happen, and it will be good. Obviously they're some big-time guys I want to get my timing down with and everything. So we'll get together at some point."
Ponder, the 12th overall selection in the draft, said then that his time working with Weinke had been beneficial.
"Actually, me and Chris have done some things -- he's fixed some things in my mechanics, and I'm throwing the ball extremely well," Ponder said. "That's one (reason) why I'm excited for the season to get started so I can get back out there and really play."