MANKATO, Minn. — Christian Ponder would welcome a trade if the Vikings found a new home for their former starting quarterback, who has been reduced to running the third-string offense in training camp.
But the former Florida State standout and 12th overall pick in 2011 knows a deal is unlikely given his struggles last season and guaranteed salary for 2014. So he's trying to make the most of his time under a new offensive staff led by coordinator Norv Turner and the few practice reps he gets behind Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
"There are benefits for me being here," Ponder told USA Today. "I'm learning a lot. It's less stressful. At the same time, I've always got to be ready, because football's a crazy game. I could play at some point. But it's an opportunity for me to learn. I do really feel like it's going to benefit me in the long run.
"If something happens — I get traded, or there's an opportunity elsewhere to play — I want to play. But this is where I am right now. I can't control it."
The Vikings owe Ponder a guaranteed $1,760,277 base salary in the last year of his rookie contract. The most likely scenario is the Vikings keep three QBs, giving them options if something happens to Cassel — the probable Week 1 starter — and Bridgewater isn't deemed ready.
Hoyer gets Browns start: Brian Hoyer will start over Johnny Manziel against the Redskins on Monday, coach Mike Pettine said in a statement. "It's just something right now where we are comfortable with Brian going out there to start the game," he said. "I think it's a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be. The key component … is that we are going to balance the reps. We will play it a little by ear as it goes on."
Manziel and a couple of other rookies were a few minutes late for a team meeting Monday, but that was not a factor in the decision to start Hoyer, ESPN reported. Manziel and the other rookies apparently misread a schedule for a brief five-minute meeting to start the week, it said. Pettine handled the matter internally.
Bears: Cornerback Kyle Fuller, the club's first-round draft pick this year, left the preseason game against the Jaguars because of an ankle injury.
Cardinals: After a good share of the team got into a skirmish at practice, coach Bruce Arians made every player run a series of sprints, known as "gassers," from one side of the field to the other. Arians then walked off the field, but the players and assistant coaches stayed and practiced. Arians eventually returned with a fresh bottle of water and oversaw the final few minutes of the workout.
Also, After an absence of nearly three weeks for undisclosed personal reasons, linebacker John Abraham arrived at camp. He would not say specifically why he was gone, only that it was "just personal stuff."
Rams: Coach Jeff Fisher said quarterback Sam Bradford, coming off knee surgery that sidelined him the final nine games last season, will play at least a quarter against the Packers on Saturday. There are no concerns about the knee, Fisher said.
Also, prosecutors in Miami have dropped battery and disorderly conduct charges against linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar in a fight outside a South Beach nightclub. Prosecutors told a judge the case will not be pursued, Dunbar attorney Howard Srebnick said. Dunbar and NBA free agent Donte Green were charged following a July 20 altercation outside the Dream nightclub. Charges are still pending against Green. Dunbar had said he was only defending himself but has not commented on the circumstances.
Redskins: The team appealed a ruling that stripped it of trademark protection, the latest legal maneuver in the franchise's attempt to defend its name against those who consider it a racial slur. The team said its appeal "points out the many errors" in the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board voted 2-1 on June 18 to cancel six uses of "Redskins" trademarked from 1967-90, saying the name is "disparaging of Native Americans." The trademark protection remains in place while the matter makes its way through the courts, a process that could take years.
Also, rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland said he'll "deal with the consequences" of being cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana on the night before the team broke training camp. The fourth-round draft pick was cited Monday on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth, about a dozen blocks from the Redskins' training camp facility in Richmond. Breeland said he had spoken to team president Bruce Allen and coach Jay Gruden but wouldn't give details. Gruden any team discipline will be handled in-house.