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Vikings QB Ponder to split first-team reps

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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Christian Ponder is not out of the running for the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback job.

Ponder, a 2011 first-round pick, will be in a three-way competition with veteran Matt Cassel and 2014 first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater in organized team activities that could stretch into training camp.

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Head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner, in their first year with the team, preached patience and said they would reserve judgment of Ponder’s ability until he was on the field in their system.

The Vikings are beginning offseason workouts with Ponder taking some of the first-team repetitions at quarterback. Cassel re-signed in the offseason after opting out of his contract. He received a two-year, $10 million deal with the expectation he would compete for the starting job.

Bridgewater, drafted 32nd overall when the Vikings traded to get back into the first round for the third consecutive year, made a positive impression in rookie minicamp and is viewed as the quarterback of the future.

Still, the Vikings could find a way to get value out of Ponder. If he proves the best option at quarterback after trimming down to reduce his overall body fat by two percent in the offseason, the Vikings stand to benefit either through increased competition or by working a trade.

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