Reports of the severity of Christian Ponder’s rib injury were somewhat exaggerated. We were told that since the broken rib was near his heart he might miss up to four weeks, but after missing just one game (with a bye week mixed in there) Ponder has been cleared to play football again.
Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean we will be seeing Ponder on the field this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. In fact, almost everyone expects Matt Cassel to be the starter come game time at MOA Field. Leslie Frazier is being coy about his quarterback plans but that’s to be expected. All coaches play the same game when there’s an injured quarterback, trying to bluff the other team into believing the injured guy might play.
But at least Ponder is available in the event something should go wrong with Matt Cassel. And where does this leave newly acquired Josh Freeman? Most everyone expects he will be starting in the very near future, but for right now, Freeman likely will remain the #3. He’s got that whole thick Bill Musgrave playbook to learn, and won’t be ready to step in for at least another week.
So with Cassel in place as the starter for now and Freeman as the starter-in-waiting, what are the chances we have seen the last we will ever see of Christian Ponder at quarterback for the Vikings? There is no compelling reason right now for the Vikes to IR him or cut him. They can keep him on the roster in the event things don’t work out with Freeman and throw him in there if the need should arise. But it’s pretty obvious that, if Rick Spielman has his way, the Vikings will be moving on from their former #12 overall draft pick.