Notebook: Allen has advice for Ponder

Jared Allen believes it is time for Christian Ponder to take control of the team. Plus, Allen talks about his health and more.

Jared Allen is entering the final year of his six-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, but he is still dispensing advice that he hopes will help the team in the future.

The 31-year-old defensive end believes it is time for the 25-year-old quarterback, Christian Ponder, to make this "your team." That was part of the advice Allen gave Ponder last month during Allen's charity golf event for his Homes for Wounded Warrior fundraiser in Arizona.

"I always talk about the steps he made in those last four games. I thought he played really well down the stretch," Allen told SiriusXM Radio. "And also where he's made some ground is his locker room presence and I've had conversations with him. I said, ‘This team has become your team.' Adrian (on offense) and I from a defensive standpoint, we can take it so far."

Allen seems to be backing the company line on Ponder: He is getting better and the final four games of the 2012 season prove it. After an up and down season to that point, Ponder began eliminating the mistakes and threw four touchdowns to only one interception over that four-game stretch that led to a playoff berth.

The hope within the organization is that he can continue to build on that in 2013, something Allen thinks needs to happen if the Vikings are to advance beyond just getting into the playoffs and take that next step to get to the Super Bowl.

"It's proven that you need a solid QB to do some damage," Allen said. "You look at the history of the NFL and the dominant teams that win a Super Bowl and it's a franchise quarterback at the helm."

Allen said the expectations for Ponder – who finished the season with 2,935 yards passing, a 62.1 completion percentage, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions – are high in 2013.


Allen is expected to return to the Vikings practice field Tuesday for the first time since having shoulder and knee surgeries – the first surgeries of his life.

How much Allen will actually do in practice remains to be seen. Still, coming off those surgeries and after nine years in the NFL, Allen said he is still feeling young.

"Ten years is a long time to be playing, but I still feel like I'm 18. I'm still in great shape," Allen told SiriusXM. "I feel like I can keep going, but you never know how a season is going to turn out. You never know how your body is going to feel. I just take it year by year."

Allen is in the final year of a six-year, $73 million contract he signed with the Vikings in 2008, one that included a $15.5 million signing bonus and will pay him $14.3 million in base salary and cost the Vikings more than $17 million in salary cap space this year.


  • Percy Harvin tried to shoot down the notion that he and Christian Ponder were at odds while teammates on the Vikings.

    "That was false," Harvin told The Jim Rome Show last week. "Me and Christian had a great time together. I respect him a whole heck of a lot.

    "I never had a problem with him; I've never stated I had a problem with him. I've never seen a problem he's had with me; he's never said he's had a problem with me. (We were) on the same page, it's just a lot of articles that tried to pick up on things that weren't there."

    That idea took on a greater presence when Harvin talked about having a great young quarterback in Russell Wilson when Harvin was traded to the Seahawks. However, with Ponder and Harvin the top QB-to-WR combination in Minnesota last year, Harvin was being talked about as an NFL MVP candidate halfway through the 2012, before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury, and it was clear at the end of the 2011 season that Harvin had far more confidence in Ponder, then a rookie, than veteran Donovan McNabb.

  • The NFL draft moving to May is also altering the Vikings' scouting schedule. General manager Rick Spielman will delay the team's "top 30" predraft visits for another two weeks in 2014, as well as honing his draft board. Despite the draft moving to May 8-10 because of a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the NFL Scouting Combine will still be in late February and free agency is still scheduled to begin on March 11.

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

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