Ponder says marriage isn't a distraction

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder got married to ESPN college football reporter Samantha Steele on Monday, but he said it won't distract him from what he called the biggest game of his career Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder got married Monday afternoon in Hudson, Wisc., he confirmed Wednesday.

Ponder married Samantha Steele, a college football reporter for ESPN. The two have been friendly since training camp, according to Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is good friends with Ponder, and the two became closer during a filming of College GameDay in September at Ponder's alma mater, Florida State.

Ponder confirmed he was dating Steele in October and confirmed their engagement earlier this month.

Ponder called this week's game against the Houston Texans the biggest game of his career as the Vikings try to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but he said his marriage this week isn't a distraction.

"It hasn't deterred anything from what I did with my routine that I (do) every Monday and Tuesday in here," Ponder said. "I got my film work in. Obviously it's a big deal, but it wasn't a distraction at all."

Ponder was clearly uncomfortable talking about the marriage, but was able to joke around. Asked how getting married compared to being drafted in the first round, he said, "That's a tough question. I liked being drafted No. 1. We'll see how this marriage thing goes," and quickly followed with, "Is this on film? Is this on camera?"

Ponder said he got married in Wisconsin in an attempt to keep the news from going public.

"We tried to limit the attention on us. I know the state of Minnesota probably isn't happy about it. You know, whatever," Ponder said. "We're going to have a big ceremony sometime in the offseason and be able to enjoy it. Hopefully some people from Minnesota will be able to be down there."

The rumors started spreading after an Eau Claire, Wisc., newspaper reported it, citing court records. From there, Ponder and Steele obviously started hearing about it from fans who apparently weren't always supportive.

"Twitter is so tricky. Who knew that ‘she's pregnant' & ‘they'll be divorced soon' are just the 2012 version of ‘congrats'! Thx guys! :)" Steele tweeted Wednesday morning.

The two were married by Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap, according to the report. Ponder said neither his parents nor Steele's were at the wedding.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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