NFC North: Samantha Ponder

Welcome to a new feature on our ESPN.com Vikings blog that I'm tentatively calling (for now) Around the Vikings Beat. It'll be a one-stop shop each morning highlighting the most interesting Vikings coverage of the day -- not just from here, but from other outlets covering the team. Call it a more localized version of the excellent Black & Blue All Over feature that Kevin Seifert popularized on the NFC North blog. And if you have a more creative name for it than "Around the Vikings Beat," I'm all ears. There's a reason I didn't go to college for marketing.

Anyway, the first edition of this might feel a bit clunky, because it's going to be headlined by a story that I was working on this month while I was still at the Pioneer Press. I sat down with Christian Ponder for a wide-ranging Q&A, in which the quarterback discussed his pivotal third season in the league, answered critics who said he should have toughed out the Vikings' playoff loss to the Packers, and talked about his marriage to ESPN college football reporter Samantha Ponder.

Speaking about the playoff loss, which he missed because of a deep bruise on his throwing arm, Ponder said, " If I could have played, I would have played. It's my first playoff game. I did everything I could to get there. Why would I just give up and decide I didn't want to play? I couldn't throw the ball."

And in Bob Sansevere's conversation with Samantha Ponder, she discussed how soon she knew the quarterback was the one, his proposal that was nearly foiled by cold Minnesota weather, and the notion that their in-season marriage was a distraction last December.

" I'm telling you, the thought that someone having a wife or girlfriend ... they're also human beings. People forget they play football at a professional level, but everybody has got a girlfriend or a wife or whatever. That's a part of being an adult," she said. "The thing that was funny to me was people saying, "This was a distraction." It was not a distraction. It's not like he was planning some big wedding. There was none of that. The only distraction was fans saying, "It's a distraction." There was no distraction. We were fine."

Continuing around the Vikings beat:

We talked here about how Jarius Wright's injury might lead to a bigger role for Cordarrelle Patterson on Sunday night.

A New Jersey judge could soon award damages in the lawsuit against Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes that there is no reason for Adrian Peterson to play in the preseaason.

Erin Henderson was initially worried he might be seriously injured when a teammate stepped on his heel Thursday, Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune writes.

Sansevere also says Peterson's remarkable recovery from knee surgery is skewing the timetable for others returning from a torn ACL.

Rookie linebacker Michael Mauti is doing all the little things right, according to Andrew Krammer of ESPN 1500.

Vikings running back Joe Banyard is an experienced rattlesnake hunter, according to Tim Yotter of Viking Update.

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