MN Native Chris Weinke Working With Ponder, Webb

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 23, 2011 – 8:57 am

Chris Weinke is a name with which Minnesota football fans are familiar. He never played a down for the Vikings or the Gophers, but the St. Paul native and Cretin-Derham Hall product was a standout prep athlete in Minnesota and eventually went on to play pro baseball and win a National Championship and Heisman Trophy as a QB at Florida State.

Now there’s another reason Vikings fans should pay attention to what Weinke’s doing – he’s working with Vikings QBs Christian Ponder and Joe Webb. The Star Tribune’s Chip Scoggins has a nice piece about Weinke working with the Vikings signal-callers and it should give fans some optimism about each players development.

Weinke recently became director of the IMG Madden Football Academy, located in Bradenton, Florida. As Scoggins notes, IMG is noted for its work with golf and tennis athletes but now, with Weinke in the fold, is taking on football prospects, too. One of Weinke’s clients is Cam Newton, who was taken 1st overall by the Carolina Panthers in April’s draft.

Last week Weinke began working privately with Webb and Scoggins reports that Ponder will join the action this week.

From Scoggins’ piece, it sounds like the work Weinke does with the QBs is legitimate stuff, from studying film to on-field workouts. And it’s not just mechanical studying, either. Weinke works at incorporating the specific offense each player will have to learn once the labor situation is resolved.

“We’re spending about 3 to 3 1/2 hours a day in the classroom installing his offense and watching video,” Weinke said in Scoggins’ piece. “We film everything, we video it, we analyze it. We come back in the afternoon and do some more installation and review some video. It’s really similar to what they would face if they went to a minicamp following the draft.

“I’ll do the same thing with him [as Newton],” Weinke said of working with the Vikings QBs. “There will be an installation of the offense, for him to get familiar with the verbiage and the concepts. We’ll take all that information and go to the field and apply all of that.”

Whether the work and preparation the Vikings QBs will go through with Weinke is as effective as it would be with actual Vikings coaches is unknown. But, even if it’s just a fraction of what they’d learn studying with Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and QBs coach Craig Johnson, the bottom line for me is both Ponder and Webb are learning how to study and prepare; and they’re learning it from a former pro QB who was known as a heady player and a good leader.

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