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Updated: July 31st, 2011 11:03am
Top draft pick Christian Ponder signs guaranteed $11 million deal

Top draft pick Christian Ponder signs guaranteed $11 million deal

by Tom Pelissero
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Christian Ponder will be in camp on time.

The Minnesota Vikings' first-round draft pick agreed to terms Sunday morning on a fully guaranteed four-year, $11 million contract, agent Jimmy Sexton told the Pioneer Press.

"Just signed!" Ponder posted on Twitter a short time later. "It feels great to officially be a Minnesota Viking! Thanks to the whole Viking family for giving me the opportunity!"

Ponder appears headed for the No. 2 quarterback job behind veteran Donovan McNabb, whom the Vikings acquired from the Washington Redskins last week. But he'll likely to get to run the first-team offense in practice until Thursday, when McNabb is eligible to practice.

The new rookie wage system reduced the length, value and the complication of first-round deals, leaving guaranteed money as one of the only negotiable items.

The fully guaranteed, $12 million deals signed earlier in the week by two other highly drafted quarterbacks, Jake Locker (No. 8, Tennessee) and Blaine Gabbert (No. 10, Jacksonville), set the market for Ponder's deal to get done on time.

It was believed the Vikings would have their entire draft class under contract before the 4 p.m. Sunday deadline for players to report.

Three players, including second-round pick Kyle Rudolph, were known to have signed by Saturday night. An NFL source said sixth-round pick Ross Homan signed on Sunday morning and another sixth-round pick, Mistral Raymond, wrote on Twitter he had signed as well.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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