Notebook: A bounty on Ponder?

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder knew of the Yahoo! Sports report alleging dozens of NCAA violations from a former University of Miami booster, including the booster's claim of offering bounties on opposing quarterbacks. Ponder, a Florida State alumnus, offered his opinion on whether there was a bounty on him. Plus, get practice observations from Wednesday at Winter Park.

The big news rocking the college football world this week is the alleged illicit benefits that a former University of Miami booster claims he gave to dozens of players, saying that some coaches had knowledge of his activities. The report from Yahoo! Sports comes after 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with Nevin Shapiro, who made his money in a $930 million real estate Ponzi scheme in the Miami area and says he used his wealth to buy impermissible favors for Miami players from 2002 to 2010.

One of the elements of the story is Shapiro's claim that he offered a bounty for Hurricanes players if they knocked the opposing quarterback out of a game, according to three sources. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who played against the Hurricanes every year as a Florida State Seminole, said he didn't notice any bounty-like treatment during those in-state rivalry games.

"I don't think so. I think when you get in the rivalry games like we had with Miami and even Florida, there are some dirty plays here and there. But, no, I never suspected anyone was being paid money to injure somebody," said Ponder, who said he heard about the Yahoo! report.

In fact, Ponder's performance against Miami in 2010 was one of his better games of the season. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during a 45-17 rout of the Hurricanes. In 2009, Ponder had an even more productive game against Miami, hitting on 24 of 41 passes for one touchdown and rushing for 28 yards and another touchdown in a loss.

Shapiro told Yahoo! that he offered payouts for the "hit of the game" and "big plays" and put bounties on specific players, naming Florida's Tim Tebow and Florida State's Chris Rix, who played a few years before Ponder's arrival at Tallahassee.

Ponder cautioned that the story is still in the allegations stage and he would wait until the NCAA is complete with its investigation.

"He's coming out and saying things and it's not really a fact yet," Ponder said of Shapiro. "We'll find out. Who knows? It's a tough situation with him … it's in the past and obviously it's not going on now. It's tough. It's going to be tough for the program. We'll see what happens."

Ponder committed to Florida State in 2005 and didn't have an offer from Miami. He had offers or interest from Arizona, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, North Carolina and TCU, according to Scout.com's recruiting database.

Asked if he thought the Miami program could get the death penalty, Ponder said, "It could be bad. It could be ugly. It's hard to speculate what's going to happen. You never know with the NCAA, what they're going to do."

HURRICANE REACTION

Undrafted rookie safety Ryan Hill is the only former Miami Hurricane on the Vikings' roster. He knew of the Yahoo! report when asked about it after Wednesday's practice.

"It's an unfortunate situation. Obviously I'm letting the university handle it. I really have no comment on it right now," Hill said.

Hill said he was never given anything by Shapiro.

WEDNESDAY PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS

  • The Vikings are still giving numerous players a look as punt returners, including Jaymar Johnson, Lorenzo Booker, Cord Parks, Stephen Burton and Devon Torrence.

  • Burton, Johnson, Booker, Parks and Tristan Davis received some looks as potential kick returners.

  • Tyrell Johnson got most of the first-team reps at safety alongside Husain Abdullah. Jamarca Sanford started Saturday's game next to Abdullah, but Johnson could get that opportunity in the second preseason game. Sanford and Mistral Raymond were the second-team safeties on Wednesday.

  • Ponder hit Emmanuel Arceneaux perfectly in stride on a go route between Hill and Parks.

  • The offense showed one three-tight end set in which Joe Webb connected with undrafted rookie Allen Reisner.

  • On a day that featured numerous checkdown passes, Webb got Sanford to bite on a fake to Toby Gerhart and then hit Devin Aromashodu over the top for a big gain. Ponder did the same thing with Michael Jenkins a few plays later.

  • Jasper Brinkley was getting a lot of work with the first-team defense at weakside linebacker, but head coach Leslie Frazier said that was simply to be sure he was ready if Erin Henderson wasn't available.

  • Adrian Peterson, who found a couple of big holes up the middle earlier in practice, received the appreciation of teammates during a goal-line drill. As he turned the corner to the left, he put a move on Sanford that left the safety slipping to the ground before Kevin Williams stood up Peterson, who reached the ball across the goal line.

  • Gerhart also scored a touchdown on a dive during the goal-line drill.

  • The defense dominated the two-minute drill to end practice. Marcus Sherels and Cedric Griffin had interceptions and Jared Allen had a touch sack.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"The big news rocking the college football world this week is the alleged illicit benefits that a former University of Miami booster claims he gave to dozens of players, saying that some coaches had knowledge of his activities. The report from Yahoo! Sports comes after 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with Nevin Shapiro, who made his money in a $930 million real estate Ponzi scheme in the Miami area and says he used his wealth to buy impermissible favors for Miami players from 2002 to 2010. One of the elements of the story is Shapiro's claim that he offered a bounty for Hurricanes players if they knocked the opposing quarterback out of a game, according to three sources. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who played against the Hurricanes every year as a Florida State Seminole, said he didn't notice any bounty-like treatment during those in-state rivalry games. \"I don't think so. I think when you get in the rivalry games like we had with Miami and even Florida, there are some dirty plays here and there. But, no, I never suspected anyone was being paid money to injure somebody,\" said Ponder, who said he heard about the Yahoo! report. In fact, Ponder's performance against Miami in 2010 was one of his better games of the season. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during a 45-17 rout of the Hurricanes. In 2009, Ponder had an even more productive game against Miami, hitting on 24 of 41 passes for one touchdown and rushing for 28 yards and another touchdown in a loss. Shapiro told Yahoo! that he offered payouts for the \"hit of the game\" and \"big plays\" and put bounties on specific players, naming Florida's Tim Tebow and Florida State's Chris Rix, who played a few years before Ponder's arrival at Tallahassee. Ponder cautioned that the story is still in the allegations stage and he would wait until the NCAA is complete with its investigation. \"He's coming out and saying things and it's not really a fact yet,\" Ponder said of Shapiro. \"We'll find out. Who knows? It's a tough situation with him … it's in the past and obviously it's not going on now. It's tough. It's going to be tough for the program. We'll see what happens.\" Ponder committed to Florida State in 2005 and didn't have an offer from Miami. He had offers or interest from Arizona, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, North Carolina and TCU, according to Scout.com's recruiting database. Asked if he thought the Miami program could get the death penalty, Ponder said, \"It could be bad. It could be ugly. It's hard to speculate what's going to happen. You never know with the NCAA, what they're going to do.\" Undrafted rookie safety Ryan Hill is the only former Miami Hurricane on the Vikings' roster. He knew of the Yahoo! report when asked about it after Wednesday's practice. \"It's an unfortunate situation. Obviously I'm letting the university handle it. I really have no comment on it right now,\" Hill said. Hill said he was never given anything by Shapiro.
  • The Vikings are still giving numerous players a look as punt returners, including Jaymar Johnson, Lorenzo Booker, Cord Parks, Stephen Burton and Devon Torrence.
  • Burton, Johnson, Booker, Parks and Tristan Davis received some looks as potential kick returners.
  • Tyrell Johnson got most of the first-team reps at safety alongside Husain Abdullah. Jamarca Sanford started Saturday's game next to Abdullah, but Johnson could get that opportunity in the second preseason game. Sanford and Mistral Raymond were the second-team safeties on Wednesday.
  • Ponder hit Emmanuel Arceneaux perfectly in stride on a go route between Hill and Parks.
  • The offense showed one three-tight end set in which Joe Webb connected with undrafted rookie Allen Reisner.
  • On a day that featured numerous checkdown passes, Webb got Sanford to bite on a fake to Toby Gerhart and then hit Devin Aromashodu over the top for a big gain. Ponder did the same thing with Michael Jenkins a few plays later.
  • Jasper Brinkley was getting a lot of work with the first-team defense at weakside linebacker, but head coach Leslie Frazier said that was simply to be sure he was ready if Erin Henderson wasn't available.
  • Adrian Peterson, who found a couple of big holes up the middle earlier in practice, received the appreciation of teammates during a goal-line drill. As he turned the corner to the left, he put a move on Sanford that left the safety slipping to the ground before Kevin Williams stood up Peterson, who reached the ball across the goal line.
  • Gerhart also scored a touchdown on a dive during the goal-line drill.
  • The defense dominated the two-minute drill to end practice. Marcus Sherels and Cedric Griffin had interceptions and Jared Allen had a touch sack.
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