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Updated: March 18th, 2013 1:37pm
Christian Ponder says he'll 'be able to learn a lot' from Matt Cassel

Christian Ponder says he'll 'be able to learn a lot' from Matt Cassel

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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PHOENIX -- If Christian Ponder is nervous about the Minnesota Vikings bringing in a veteran backup, he didn't show it on Monday morning.

In a relaxed session with a few reporters at the NFL meetings here at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Ponder said having more experience in the quarterback room can only help.

"Oh, for sure, I think so," Ponder said. "Obviously, he'll probably know more than I do and be able to help me on things and watch some film together. I think it is important."

Cassel, 30, has started 62 games over the past five seasons with New England and Kansas City, which released him hours before the Vikings signed him to a two-year, $7.4 million contract last week.

But the Vikings have made clear publicly and privately Cassel is being brought in strictly as a backup, not to be part of a quarterback competition in camp.

That was the same message last year, when third-year pro Joe Webb backed up Ponder and another young quarterback, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, beat out veteran Sage Rosenfels for the No. 3 job.

"I think there's always a competition, whether it's Matt or Joe or McLeod," Ponder said. "There's always a competition. I think competition's always a good thing. I think that's always definitely a motivating factor and helps push each other. It's nothing but positive."

According to Ponder, Cassel called him shortly after signing his deal at the two exchanged text messages after that.

Ponder, 25, was here to have a breakfast with his wife, Sam, and agent, Jimmy Sexton, at the Biltmore before heading to a workout at Athletes Performance Institute.

He spent time earlier in the offseason working out in Los Angeles with UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who trained Ponder before the NFL Draft in 2011 and worked with him and Cassel for a week last year as well.

"We actually went and played golf, too," Ponder said. "I like (Cassel). Good guy. Obviously, he's been around. He's been in the Patriots' system, been in Kansas City and hopefully, I'll be able to learn a lot from him."

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