Ponder likely Vikes QB; Freeman concussed?
Josh Freeman has concussion-type symptoms and the Minnesota Vikings will proceed as if Christian Ponder will start at quarterback Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings' quarterback relay apparently will have another handoff this week.
"Looking at the history of guys who have concussions on a short week that are able to at least get cleared for Sundays, we'll have to proceed as if [Freeman]'s not going to make it," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday.
Freeman first felt concussion symptoms on Tuesday and reported them to the team later that afternoon, Frazier said. The Vikings believe it happened on a hit in the third quarter of the Vikings' 23-7 loss, but Freeman finished the game and didn't say anything to the team about the symptoms afterward.
If Ponder is back in the starting role Sunday night, he would be the Vikings' third starter in as many weeks.
Ponder initially lost the starting job after suffering a rib injury in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, and he stayed on the bench after Matt Cassel led the Vikings to their only win of the season on Sept. 29 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London.
Ponder was asked Wednesday if he will be more relaxed in a starting role now that he has already been benched earlier this season.
"I think I was playing with a lot of pressure on myself before and never felt in sync. Now is the opportunity to take that deep breath and go out and have fun again. I already got benched, so it can't get worse than that," he said.
Ponder said he's not focusing on whether or not he might have a "short leash" with the team's coaching staff.
"I guess it was short the whole first three games, and I didn't realize it. I'm not focused on that. I'm controlling what I can control, and that's getting out, having fun, playing with the guys," he said.
The Vikings further complicated the plot by signing Freeman on Oct. 7. When Freeman started his first game on Monday night, the Vikings elevated Ponder back over Cassel to the No. 2 quarterback spot.
Based on both players' "body of work," Frazier said, Ponder will stay ahead of Cassel this week. He played what might have been the best game of his career against the Packers at the Metrodome last season, when Minnesota beat Green Bay 37-34 in Week 17 to earn the NFC's final playoff spot.
Frazier didn't say whether Ponder could regain his status as the permanent starter if he plays well Sunday, adding that he wanted to get through the Packers game first. But he stressed the need for continuity at quarterback at a time when the Vikings have had none.
"It's important," Frazier said. "That quarterback position, you want to know who's going to be lining up, week in and week out. But that's the circumstance where we are, and Christian will do a good job for us on Sunday night."
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