Christian Ponder to share Vikings' first-team reps


The Minnesota Vikings have been giving off conflicting signals regarding Christian Ponder's future with the club.

"Bridge" quarterback Matt Cassel was released and quickly re-signed. The Vikes then declined Ponder's $9.6 million fifth-year option for 2015.

General manager Rick Spielman insisted Ponder wasn't on the trade block entering the 2014 NFL Draft because the Vikings didn't want to be left with only one quarterback on the roster.

Now that first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater has joined Cassel in a quarterback competition, Ponder would seem to be the odd man out.

That's not the case.

NFL Media's Albert Breer reports Ponder will share first-team reps in offseason practices, along with Cassel and Bridgewater.

Ponder has dropped 2 percent of his body fat and gained five pounds of muscle, per Breer.

Translation: A portion of those five pounds is the "For Sale!" sign now dangling from Ponder's neck.

With a new coaching staff in town and Bridgewater now sporting the "quarterback of the future" mantle, the only reason to devote time and resources to Ponder is to foment some semblance of value for the 2011 first-round pick.

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Ponder should fetch at least a conditional late-round pick in a trade.

Unlike other notable first-round flops, Ponder hasn't been an outright tire fire en route to losing the starting job. Although he struggles with field vision and rarely make plays downfield and outside the numbers, he's a plus athlete with a strong enough arm.

If you strain hard enough, you can see similarities to former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who bounced around the league before finally finding success in an offense suited to his strengths late in his career.

Instead of devoting late-round 2015 draft picks to long-shot developmental quarterbacks, teams with an established star such as the Packers, Saints, Panthers and Falcons should kick the tires on Ponder this summer.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" predicts 2014 starting lineups and talks insider goodness with Bucky Brooks.