Lockout back on, but not before Vikings coaches take advantage
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The NFL's return to business didn't last long.
Roughly 11 hours after players were allowed to resume workouts at team facilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday granted the league a temporary stay of the district court order that lifted the lockout earlier in the week.
But that was enough time for Minnesota Vikings coaches to spend time with top draft pick Christian Ponder and also get information about the new coaching staff's schemes to veterans who once again have no idea when they'll go back to work.
"I know that the coaching staff was working very hard (Friday) getting stuff out while the window was open," vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said, minutes after the court ruling down as the Vikings were preparing to make their second-round draft pick.
Ponder remained in the building, Spielman said, while the team tried to change his flight back to Texas. The No. 12 overall draft pick spent substantial time in the meeting room with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson on Friday and was expected to take a playbook home to study.
"I know he had a chance to talk with Percy (Harvin) a little bit ago as well," said coach Leslie Frazier, who connected the two former Florida college standouts on the phone.
"(Ponder's) going to take some information back, so they'll get the chance to work out together depending on what happens with this lockout. We'll definitely put some things in his hands that he can have to take with him."
Ponder confirmed he wants to connect with his new teammates "ASAP" and hinted he might try to organize practices if the lockout continues as well.
"The funny thing is being up here and Coach Musgrave just got here, I think I know more about the offense than those guys do," Ponder said. "Maybe I'll be able to teach something to them."
A three-judge panel with one judge dissenting granted the temporary stay a little before 6 p.m. Friday. The NFL also is pursuing a full stay that would preserve the lockout until the 8th circuit hears its appeal, which could tie up the situation in the courts for months.
"Right now, everything is kind of unsure," Johnson said. "All we've been basically doing is talking Xs and Os on the board."
Linebacker Chad Greenway was among the players spotted entering Vikings headquarters on Friday morning, and others were expected to arrive in time for the formal start of offseason workouts on Monday.
Ponder arrived by limousine after an early-morning flight from Texas and spent more than an hour conducting media interviews in addition to his time in the meeting rooms.
"Once he got in the building and then came down, I know Coach Musgrave and Coach Johnson were spending a lot of time with him," Spielman said. "So, I know while we had that opportunity, we took advantage of it."
Said Ponder, "I'm trying to get as much ball talk in as possible and get a feel for what's going on. It is tough, especially with the uncertainty. We have no idea what's going to happen. I'm praying I'll be back here in two weeks for a minicamp or whatever we're allowed, but we'll see. We'll deal with the issues as they come and we'll go from there."