The Vikings are transitioning Webb back to wide receiver after three seasons as a backup quarterback.
"We had been talking about it for a while, and we made the decision that this was the way to go after we had our draft," coach Leslie Frazier said.
Webb, 6-4, 220, started at quarterback in the Vikings' playoff loss at Green Bay when Ponder was battling an elbow injury. He had 32 receptions for 480 yards and four touchdowns as a wide receiver in college, but last played the position regularly in 2008.
Webb was a sixth-round pick in 2010 as a wide receiver, but coach Brad Childress determined his NFL future was at quarterback.
That changed when the Vikings signed Matt Cassel to be the No. 2 quarterback.
"You have a whole different world at quarterback, but I think that's going to help me out there at receiver, having been at quarterback and knowing the coverage and how DBs run their plays," Webb said. "I think that's going to be a big advantage for me. I always relate things that I see on the field to quarterbacks -- to Christian, to Matt Cassel, to (McLeod) Bethel-Thompson -- I can tell those guys what I see out there. That will help them out a lot, my quarterback experience.
"Also, it will help the receivers out -- for instance if they see a safety rotating down, different coverages that teams prepare and things like that. I think it's going to be a big help."
Webb has one NFL reception (for nine yards in 2011), but was a wide receiver at UAB before shifting to quarterback.
"He's such a talented athlete that we want to make sure that we're doing the right thing by him and our team," Frazier said in April.
The Vikings drafted Cordarrelle Patterson and signed free agent Greg Jennings to bolster a wide receiver corps overhauled following the March trade of Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks.
--It's not often a punter drafted in the fifth round, such as Jeff Locke was by the Minnesota Vikings, can upstage three first-round draft picks. But that's what happened because the veteran punter he replaced did not leave quietly.
So Locke became Topic A with the Vikings when veteran Chris Kluwe was released and announced the transaction via Twitter.
Similar to last year, when the Vikings selected kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round, the Vikings used last week's rookie minicamp to gauge how UCLA punter Jeff Locke handles coaching from special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.
"It's very similar to our approach with Blair," coach Leslie Frazier said on the first day of the team's three-day camp. "We just want to put (Locke) in different situations and see how he can respond."
After Walsh passed his test at minicamp a year ago, reliable veteran kicker Ryan Longwell was cut two days later. Walsh went on to set an NFL record for most field goals of 50 or more yards made in one season (10) en route to first-team All-Pro honors.
Kluwe expected the same fate as Longwell. But when it happened he sounded OK with that, calling himself "statistically the best punter in Vikings history" and someone who "will just go and try to find another job somewhere else." That happened quickly, as Kluwe signed with the Raiders.
Kluwe owns the team gross punting records for a game (57.5), a season (47.6) and a career (44.4). He also had the third-highest gross average (45.0) and best net average (39.9) of his eight-year career despite battling groin and knee injuries in 2012.
But Kluwe also finished 31st in the league in punts inside the 20, had some uncharacteristic and ill-timed shanks, and saw the constant attention from his social activism and social media presence wear thin with the coaching staff, particularly Priefer. Priefer let his feelings about Kluwe's outspoken nature be known last year when he was asked about Kluwe's $5,250 fine for covering the 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame patch on his jersey with a Post-it note with the words "Vote Ray Guy."
"I don't even want to talk about that," Priefer said. "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you. Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there's other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion. ... (Kluwe) needs to focus on punting and holding (on place kicks)."
Kluwe's main focus when it comes to social activism is gay marriage rights. He received national and international attention. Critics say the Vikings were making this move because Kluwe has become too much of a distraction, particularly with his work on behalf of gay marriage rights.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who has final authority on all transactions, said that wasn't the case. Speaking on Day 3 of the draft, Spielman said, "It has nothing to do with anything Chris Kluwe is off the field. When we're making decisions, we're purely making them based on trying to bring in the best competition possible. This was just another normal personnel move.
"I have no issues with (Kluwe). If Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion, that's his right. That's his freedom of speech."
Spielman said then that Locke was brought in to "compete" with Kluwe. However, it's a one-man show now.
Locke had a 44.2-yard career gross average at UfCLA. He's also known for his strong directional kicking and ability to hold punts inside the 20.
Kluwe is considered the best punter in team history. And, at 31, he's also considered to have more life left in his right leg. But his social activism made him known for a lot more than punting a football.
Brian Urlacher isn't close to finding a new home in the NFL if he's expecting that destination to be Minnesota.
Head coach Leslie Frazier told NFL Network on Wednesday that the Vikings aren't near a deal with Urlacher, as was reported over the weekend, and prefer to take a long look at the options on the current roster before considering other alternatives.
Frazier didn't entirely rule out a connection down the road with the Bears' great, who wasn't re-signed as a free agent. Chicago moved swiftly to address its own defense, signing former Broncos starter D.J. Williams and drafting Florida's Jonathan Bostic in the second round.
"Brian has been a great player in our league for a long, long time. He has been a thorn in our side for many years," said Frazier. "At this point, we want to take a look at the guys on our roster, give them a chance to compete for the middle linebacker position and then we will see where it takes us."
Meanwhile, Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson expressed some anger concerning the talk of someone other than him being the team's middle linebacker.
Henderson told 1500ESPN.com, "Coach told me all the time, 'Play angry. You're too nice sometimes. Play angry.' I haven't been more pissed in - I couldn't tell you. I don't think I've ever been this pissed in my entire life, to just hear people talk about stuff that they have no idea what they're talking about.
"I guess it's getting to a point now where it's like, 'Dang, I just want a little bit of respect.' I'm not asking you to call me the greatest linebacker to ever play the game yet. Maybe one day we might get to that point, but show me a little bit of respect for what I've done and what I've accomplished in this league."
Frazier has only said henderson is "in the conversation" when asked who will be the team's middle linebacker.
Said Henderson, "I'm used to it. Just like now I've got to hear they might want to bring in Urlacher. Cool. Bring him in. And if he's better than me, if he can outplay me at that position, then let him play - but just make sure it's a competition, you know what I mean? Make sure I've got a fair shot at it and I get my fair shake that I deserve at the position. That's all."
The Vikings will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while their new stadium is being built.
The agreement is subject to a vote by the university's Board of Regents, but the two sides are expected to make an official announcement Thursday, according to the Star-Tribune.
The agreement includes stipulations that require the Vikings to pay for any capital improvements and operational expenses for the team's home games. In addition, the Vikings will pay the university a per-game rent of $250,000 and share $50,000 per game in concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue.
The total value of the agreement for the university is $300,000 per game and a maximum of $3 million per season, according to the report.
The Vikings haven't had a cornerback intercept more than four passes in a season since Brian Williams grabbed five in 2003.
Well, it's still very, very early, but perhaps it's a good omen that rookie Xavier Rhodes came down with one in the first one-on-one drill of his first rookie minicamp practice.
"It was just a little press coverage; my type of game," said the 6-foot-1, 217-pounder Rhodes, the 25th overall pick in the draft. "I kept the receiver in front of me, on my hip. The quarterback threw the ball up. It was a jump ball. And I just picked it off."
Now comes the harder part: Duplicating all of that when the competition isn't made up of mostly undrafted rookies who were just signed or were in camp on a tryout basis.
Quarterback Christian Ponder was asked a simple question during an offseason conditioning workout.
How's the arm doing?
"Fine," said Ponder, who missed the Vikings' playoff loss at Green Bay because of a deep bruise in his passing elbow.
But then Ponder told a tale about a scary trip to the emergency room in late January. Ponder's arm was nearly healed when it swelled up for no apparent reason.
Ponder said he was "scared to death" that he might have a blood clot. The trip to the emergency room ultimately relieved his fear, but not until there were some anxious moments.
According to Ponder, the doctor who treated him feared that he might have compartment syndrome, a potentially serious ailment in which a limb and even one's life can be at stake when blood supply is cut off from muscles and nerves. Surgery was mentioned as a possibility, Ponder said, but wasn't deemed necessary after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam was performed.
"I had called Sugs (Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman)," Ponder said. "Luckily, he called (back) at the right moment and talked to the doctor and said don't do anything crazy. Just go get an MRI to make sure. And it ended up being fine. They were scaring me with what they wanted to do."
Poor left tackle Matt Kalil. He's an NFL player, he makes millions of dollars and, oh yeah, he has to eat constantly just to keep from losing massive amounts of weight.
His weight dropped to 280 pounds earlier this offseason. That wouldn't be a bad thing if it were 1975. For a modern NFL tackle, Kalil needs to be on the high side of 300.
"For some other guys, they stop working out and they gain weight," Kalil said. "I shrivel up when I stop working out. I started a couple months ago and I'm getting back into it. I'm back to about 305. I'm probably looking to be 315 during the season, which shouldn't be a problem."
"Well, I taught Tom everything he knows. I don't know what you guys are talking about. But I thought he really started to flourish once I got there."- No. 2 quarterback Matt Cassel, when asked by reporters to describe his last backup gig as an understudy soaking up knowledge from Tom Brady to his current role as veteran mentor to Christian Ponder. (And, yes, he was joking).
A closer look at the Vikings' picks:
1/23 - Sharrif Floyd, DT, 6-3, 295, Florida
A quick, powerful three-technique player who can stop the run and penetrate a gap as a disruptive pass rusher. At minimum, Floyd will rotate at the under tackle position with 11-year veteran Kevin Williams, who is in the final year of his contract. Look for the Vikings to also experiment with using Floyd at nose tackle next to Williams.
1/25 - Xavier Rhodes, CB, 6-1, 217, Florida State
A big, shutdown press corner who will come in handy in the NFC North, where the Vikings have to match up with receivers such as 6-5 Calvin Johnson and 6-4 Brandon Marshall. The Vikings play more of a zone-based defensive scheme, but Rhodes and 6-2 veteran Chris Cook could give them more man, press options in the future.
1/29 - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, 6-2, 215, Tennessee
An electric playmaker that the Vikings believe can be, in time, the kind of versatile weapon that Percy Harvin was as a receiver, runner and kick returner. With little of note behind Greg Jennings at receiver, the Vikings will use the raw Patterson as a deep threat and kick returner right off the bat. Having played only one year of major college football after a stint in junior college, Patterson will need a year to mature as a route runner.
4/120 - Gerald Hodges, LB, 6-1, 243, Penn State
Picked for a cover ability that matches the Vikings' Tampa 2-based scheme, Hodges is a former high school quarterback who went to Penn State as a safety. He could provide depth at will linebacker, but may grow into an NFL sam linebacker that can move inside and play deep middle zone coverage in a Cover 2.
5/155 - Jeff Locke, P, 6-0, 209, UCLA
A year after replacing dependable veteran kicker Ryan Longwell with surprise sixth-round pick Blair Walsh, the Vikings threw another bit of a curveball in selecting the big-legged Locke, who unseats Chris Kluwe, the best punter in Vikings history and still a dependable veteran. Kluwe did have a few uncharacteristic shanks last year, but many see this as a move to rid the team of the outspoken Kluwe, whose many causes have included national and international exposure as a supporter of gay marriage rights. He was released May 6.
6/196 - Jeff Baca, G, 6-3, 302, UCLA
Known as a tenacious blocker but is on the shorter side and can be overpowered by stronger nose tackles. The Vikings see him as a potential backup at right guard, replacing the departed backup Geoff Schwartz.
7/213 - Michael Mauti, ILB, 6-2, 243, Penn State
A determined athlete that is coming back from his third torn ACL. He's torn his left one twice (2009 and 2012) and his right one once (2011). Mauti hopes to be ready for the start of training camp, but is more of a longer-term project than a candidate to fill the team's opening for a starting middle linebacker.
7/214 - Travis Bond, G, 6-6, 329, North Carolina
Built like a tackle but could be groomed as a swing player between guard and right tackle. Known to play a little too high with slower hands. He'll need a lot of work with line coach Jeff Davidson to give the team any quality at backup guard or tackle.
7/229 - Everett Dawkins, DT, 6-2, 292, Florida State
Has very good quickness, but is known for playing a bit out of control. He's also a longer-term project, but with the right grooming, he could provide enough quickness and strength to replace backup Fred Evans, who is 30 this season.
WR Devin Aromashodu won't be brought back. The Vikings have invested two seasons in a player they thought could stretch the field. But the bottom line is he can't finish plays. Time to move on.
LB Gerald Hodges (4/120): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
P Jeff Locke (5/155): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G Jeff Baca (6/196): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Michael Mauti (7/213): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G Travis Bond (7/214): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
DT Everett Dawkins (7/229): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
C Joe Berger: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
FB Jerome Felton: UFA; $7.5M/3 yrs.
LB Erin Henderson: UFA; $4M/2 yrs.
CB A.J. Jefferson: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation); $1.323M/1 yr.
T/G Troy Kropog: ERFA; terms unknown.
T Phil Loadholt: UFA; $25M/4 yrs, $7M SB.
LB Marvin Mitchell: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
S Jamarca Sanford: UFA; $5M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB/$500,000 RB.
S Andrew Sendejo: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
CB/PR Marcus Sherels: ERFA; terms unknown.
WR Jerome Simpson: UFA; $2.1M/1 yr, $500,000 SB.
QB Matt Cassel: FA Chiefs; $3.7M/1 yr, $4M option for 2014.
DE Lawrence Jackson: UFA Lions; terms unknown.
WR Greg Jennings: UFA Packers; $45M/5 yrs, $10M SB/$17.8M guaranteed.
CB Jacob Lacey: UFA Lions; terms unknown.
G Seth Olsen: Not tendered as RFA by Colts; terms unknown.
LB Jasper Brinkley: UFA Cardinals; $3.5M/2 yrs, $400,000 SB.
WR Percy Harvin (traded Seahawks).
WR Michael Jenkins (released).
P Chris Kluwe (released).
G Geoff Schwartz: UFA Chiefs; $630,000/1 yr.
CB Antoine Winfield (released).