Minnesota Vikings Face Another Quarterback Controversy
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By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings face another quarterback controversy.
Christian Ponder was on the cusp of securing the starting job for the remainder of the season, but struggled in the second half of the team’s 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
“You can’t win in this league playing one or two quarters,” Head coach Leslie Frazier said. “We just need all of our players to play well throughout the game, and he didn’t play as well in that fourth quarter as we needed him to. We needed more consistent play and we didn’t get it. The results of it put us in a tough spot.”
Ponder was given a second chance after getting benched following the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He was initially replaced by Matt Cassel due to broken ribs, but remained in the backup role when deemed healthy. Cassel has been the backup since giving way to Josh Freeman in Week 7.
The trio of quarterbacks have combined to be tied for 29th in the league in touchdown passes with 10. The group also is 29th in passer rating at 72.5.
“Just want to talk through a little bit and when we come back on Wednesday have a good idea,” Frazier said.
Frazier visited with Ponder prior to the player availability time with the reporters.
“We just went over what he talked to you guys (media) about,” Ponder said.
Freeman was signed in October and thrust into duty before he had a full grasp of the offense in his only game action as a member of the Vikings this season. He missed on 33 of 53 passes, including 15 overthrows. He was not ready and has not played since.
General Manager Rick Spielman said that the team can evaluate the fifth-year veteran in practice, but the general feeling is that the team needs to see Freeman in game action to decide his future with the organization.
“Not so much from Josh, just try and determine what’s the best thing to do based on where we are and what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Frazier said. “He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do. He’s working hard in practice, he’s preparing properly. We’ll just have to see what’s the best thing to do.”
The Vikings lost cornerback Josh Robinson (broken sternum) and center John Sullivan (concussion) to injuries during the loss to the Seahawks.
Robinson is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which puts his season in doubt. He is likely to be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Xavier Rhodes and Marcus Sherels in nickel situations.
As is the case with all concussions, Sullivan does not have a timetable for his return. He will have to go through the league’s protocol before returning. His replacement is Joe Berger.
The good injury news came from Greg Childs. He is expected to return to practice Wednesday after spending the last season and a half on injured reserve and the physically-unable-to-perform list. He tore the patellar tendons in both knees during his rookie training camp in 2012.
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.