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Freeman Suffering From Concussion Symptoms, Ponder Likely To Start For Minnesota Vikings

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By Joseph Gunther

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the football during the third quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ponder scored a touchdown on the play. The Browns defeated the Vikings 31-27. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings (Credit, Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

During his weekly press conference on the day after games, head coach Leslie Frazier said that Josh Freeman would remain the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

However, when the fifth-year veteran reported to practice on Tuesday, he had concussion-symptoms.

The Vikings believe the injury may have occurred after a hit in the third quarter of Monday’s loss to the New York Giants. Frazier said, he was checked out on the sideline and appeared OK.

Christian Ponder will take the reps with the first team offense, and given the short practice week, will likely start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field.

“We’ll have to proceed as if [Freeman's] not going to make it,” Frazier said. “We need to get Christian ready to go.”

Frazier stood by his decision to start Freeman, despite having him on the roster for less than two weeks.

“If I had to do it over again, I don’t think I’d do it any differently under the circumstances,” the head coach said. “I knew exactly why we made the decision. I felt very confident going into the ballgame with the decision. It didn’t work out for us this time.”

During the game, it appeared that Freeman was not ready to lead the Vikings offense, but Frazier said he never considered pulling the 25-year-old quarterback. He completed just 20-of-53 passes for 190 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He posted a QBR of 6.1 and a rating of 40.6. He failed to complete passes to wide open receivers, including 16 overthrown passes.

The coaching staff has pinpointed what went wrong for Freeman.

“His footwork wasn’t ideal. His shoulders weren’t square all the time. So it was more technical stuff,” Frazier said. “But the mental part, he was sharp. He did a great job of running our offense throughout the night.”

The Vikings last victory with Ponder starting at quarterback came in Week 17 last season against the Packers at Mall of America Field.

Prater in, Lacey out

The Vikings shook up the roster a bit by claiming Shaun Prater off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.

To make room on the roster the team cut Jacob Lacey. The Vikings signed Lacey in the offseason, but released him during the preseason. He was re-signed last week when Harrison Smith was placed on Injured Reserve.

Prater, a 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound second-year veteran, was placed on waivers by the Eagles on Monday. He played one game for them but did not record any statistics. He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. He spent his entire rookie season on the Injured Reserve list for the Bengals with a knee issue.

Vikings defensive backs have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete over 65 percent of their passes this season.

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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