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Ponder: I want to play, but this is where I am right now


"With the 12th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select... Christian Ponder."

It's been a long time since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said those words. In three years with the Vikings, Ponder has been cheered some and booed a lot. Now in his fourth year, Ponder is spending most of his practice time watching Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater throw passes.

Barring injuries, Ponder's playing days in Minnesota are likely over. Ponder knows it, too. That's why he's open to be traded, as reported by USA Today's Tom Pelissero.

"There are benefits for me being here," Ponder said Wednesday. "I'm learning a lot. It's less stressful. At the same time, I've always got to be ready, because football's a crazy game. I could play at some point. But it's an opportunity for me to learn. I do really feel like it's going to benefit me in the long run.

"If something happens — I get traded, or there's an opportunity elsewhere to play — I want to play. But this is where I am right now. I can't control it."

Pelissero says Ponder is unlikely to get traded this year because of his recent struggles and guaranteed salary of about $1.7 million.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Ponder has been "true pro" during his slide from starter to third stringer.

Ponder and his wife Samantha recently welcomed a baby girl to their family. He reiterated with Pelissero what he said earlier in training camp, that his child has put football in perspective.

"I can get frustrated in practice. When you're getting three reps a day, you can walk away and be a little disappointed," he said. "I go in the locker room, check my phone, and my wife sent me a picture of our daughter smiling. The fact that some things are more important than football, it definitely helps."

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