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Christian Ponder’s Status For Sunday Remains A Hot Topic For The Minnesota Vikings

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By Joseph Gunther

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass the football during the game against the Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(Credit, Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

At this time in Week 4, the Minnesota Vikings had pretty much ruled several players out for that game. Now two weeks later, there does not appear to be anyone that will be deactivated because of injury.

Quarterback Christian Ponder remains in the spotlight for various reasons, including his injured ribs. He was listed as a limited participant in both Wednesday and Thursday’s practice, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday morning that the third-year quarterback was medically cleared to play.

Ponder said after practice Thursday that he knows who the starting quarterback will be, but would leave the announcement for head coach Leslie Frazier.

However, when listening to his comments, there is a pretty good idea that Matt Cassel will start for the second straight game.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say it was a little disappointing and frustrating,” Ponder said. “But I’m not going to get too discouraged about it. I’m a man of faith, and I know God’s in control. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what the next few weeks, few months, holds. I don’t know. We’ll see how everything plays out. I’m working on a lot of things in practice and trying to get better as a quarterback.”

Schefter also reported that a source told him the Vikings are going to start Cassel, but Frazier made it clear Thursday that he isn’t going to make a decision until after Friday’s practice.

“It’s not an open competition,” Frazier said. “I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing. We’ll go through practice (Friday), see where these guys are, and just do the best thing for our team.”

Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft, added Thursday that he has conversations with Frazier and General Manager Rick Spielman about his future with the organization. He also said that a trade would be “difficult to deal with” as he stood in front of the media to discuss the situation he has been put in by the signing of Josh Freeman.

“I spent a little time worrying about it, and realized that’s no good,” Ponder said. “It’s not going to help me out. My focus is on what I can control, and that’s getting healthy, which I have been doing, and getting better on the football field, which I feel like I have been doing.

“We’ve had some conversations. We’ve sat down and talked about everything. But again, the plan is to still be here and to still prepare as the starter and be ready at all times. We’ll see how things play out. You never know.”

The most concerning injury was sustained during practice on Thursday when kick Blair Walsh tweaked his hamstring while practicing kickoffs.

“We just shut him down,” Frazier said. “Precautionary. So we’ll see how he feels (Friday). I think he’ll be fine, based on what (head athletic trainer) Eric Sugarman said. He should be fine. Just want to be smart.”

Running back Adrian Peterson missed only Thursday’s practice for personal reasons. After he was seen in Sioux Falls, SD surfaced later in the day, the reason came to light. His two-year-old son was in the hospital in critical condition and Friday evening was pronounced dead. The toddler was reportedly beaten by his mother’s boyfriend. Peterson was at practice Friday and he said he will play Sunday, but that was before the news of his son’s death broke.

Vikings Injury Report:

Probable

  • Michael Bennett (Quadriceps)
  • Jeremy Lane (Hamstring)
  • Sidney Rice (Knee)
  • Walter Thurmond (Knee)
  • Max Unger (Upper Arm)

Questionable

  • Marshawn Lynch (Hip)
  • Zach Miller (Hamstring)

Doubtful

  • Bobby Wagner (Ankle)

Out

  • Breno Giacomini (Knee)
  • Spencer Ware (Ankle)

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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