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Day 11 Vikings training camp: Ponder sharp, Allen returns

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The Vikings wrapped up training camp for the week as they now leave Mankato and head to Mall of America Field for Friday night's preseason opener against the Houston Texans.

Stars Return to Practice: Good news as defensive end Jared Allen (ankle), safety Harrison Smith (knee), and linebackers Erin Henderson (groin) and Desmond Bishop (groin) all returned to practice. Allen gave the team a scare after limping off the practicing field on Tuesday. Smith also left Tuesday's practice with a twisted knee. Henderson was resting a "little soreness" while Rhodes and Bishop had been held out since late last week.

"Both are going to be fine," head coach Leslie Frazier said of Allen and Smith. "There are no ill effects from what occurred yesterday. They should both be fine."

Xavier Rhodes began practicing with the team, but after a short period he spent the rest of the afternoon on the sideline with his helmet in his hand.

Frazier said it's unlikely that Bishop or Rhodes play Friday against Houston.

Better Day for Ponder: Christian Ponder, after what I would call a rough day on Tuesday, looked very sharp throughout practice today. His highlight came during team competition in the red zone. He needed just two passes to lead the offense to a touchdown. His TD pass went to Jerome Simpson, but wouldn't have had a chance to happen if Ponder's legs didn't bail him out of trouble in the pocket… Nice rollout to the right to find Simpson. Ponder also completed a two-point conversion pass to Greg Jennings.

During 7-on-7 red zone competition, Ponder went 4-6 with touchdown passes to John Carlson and Simpson. had Ponder 12-of-15 during competitive drills.

Burton Dropped a Ball: First time all camp I've seen Stephen Burton drop a pass. Ponder fired a bullet on a slant in the red zone that went right through Burton's hands. I haven't seen every pass that's gone Burton's way, but that might have been his first drop.

Joe Webb Touchdown: Joe Webb caught a touchdown pass on a slant from Matt Cassel. It completed a solid series in the red zone for the second team offense. Earlier, during 7-on-7 competition, Webb drew a big ovation from the packed bleachers after hauling in a pass that was thrown behind him on the sideline.

Former Minnesota State University wide receiver Adam Thielen can't wait to play in the Metrodome Friday night. He says it will fulfill a lifelong dream.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert called Jarius Wright the most impressive receiver for the Vikings so far at training camp.

WCCO interview Marcus Sherels about his competition as a punt returner.

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