His mama told him would there be days like these.
In his first full practice Friday since being pushed to the second-team offense, Christian Ponder struggled badly, throwing a pair of 7-on-7 interceptions, one of which was returned for what would have been a pick-six touchdown.
Head coach Leslie Frazier was asked to respond to Ponder's less-than-stellar performance and he summed it up as a coach and former player would.
"It's called being a rookie in the National Football League," Frazier said. "There are going to be some other days like that. That's part of it. You know. He's going to have a lot of good days, too."
Ponder said that, while he was disappointed with his throwing – several of his incompletions were well off target –getting the team up to speed is going to be critical to future success.
"It was our first day of situational stuff – working on some third-down (packages) – and the first day that we went ‘full-go' on some things," Ponder said. "I think it was definitely good to get that out of the way and learn from it. We've obviously got a lot of film to watch and those days are where you progress the most from."
While still a long way from having his confidence, Ponder theorized that, after a day like Friday, there is no place to go but up from here.
"It definitely is a work in progress," Ponder said. "We're kind of getting everything thrown at us and see what sticks so far. [Thursday] was the last day of [game plan] install for the week. We got everything in and now we've just got to learn from everything."
Guard Anthony Herrera, who has been sidelined while recovering from knee surgery, is in three-way battle for the starting right guard position with second-year man Chris DeGeare and the recently re-signed Ryan Cook.
Frazier said the hope is to get Herrera back on the field in time for the home preseason opener in three weeks.
"We would like to get him into one of those late preseason games," Frazier said. "Just to see where he is. That's the goal. Whether we can get to that, I don't know. But we would like to try to get him for [the regular-season opener against] San Diego, but that will hinge on whether or not we get a chance to see him in the preseason at all."
FRAZIER PRAISES EFFORT
Frazier said he was extremely pleased with the tempo and intensity of Friday's practice, saying that he was impressed with all facets of the game.
"I thought we had a good, spirited practice out there," Frazier said. "Offense, defense, special teams, it was competitive – which is what you're trying to get accomplished in training camp. We got some good competition at a lot of different positions."
Frazier said the best thing for his new-look offense was to have Adrian Peterson back, which finally allowed the entire offense to be together – from Peterson to new acquisitions Donovan McNabb to Michael Jenkins to Charlie Johnson.
"To finally have all the pieces together, because offense is so much about timing and getting to know one another, now we have everyone in camp together so hopefully every day we will just work towards getting better," Frazier said.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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