If there is ever going to be a Josh Freeman era in Minnesota, it will apparently have to wait at least one more game to get started. Leslie Frazier said on Sunday that Christian Ponder will most likely be the starter at quarterback Thursday night when the Vikings take on the Washington Redskins, leaving Freeman and his $2 million contract on the bench for another week.
“As of right now I don’t see why we’d make a change at QB for Thursday,” Frazier told reporters in the wake of Sunday’s frustrating 27-23 loss in Dallas. Not exactly a huge vote of confidence for Ponder, who played about as well as he’s capable of playing against the Cowboys Sunday only to see his team once again come up short.
Ponder and Freeman were thought to be in heated competition all last week for the starting spot, but when game day rolled around Freeman suddenly found himself demoted all the way to #3 with Matt Cassel as the backup. Freeman’s status remains up in the air with Ponder seemingly once again entrenched in the #1 role.
The Vikings’ offense looked semi-functional at times Sunday with Ponder in command, but Ponder once again had a few of his bad moments, including a pair of crushing turnovers. Ponder’s overall stats looked okay – 67% completions, 236 yards, 82.7 passer rating and two TDs, one passing, one running – but as usual he did more than enough bad things to keep his doubters well-stocked with ammunition.
Ponder’s worst moment, at least aesthetically, may have come on the game’s last play when his attempted Hail Mary pass from midfield failed to even reach the goal line. More troubling from a big-picture standpoint was Ponder’s continued unwillingness to stay in the pocket in the face of pressure.
Despite his flaws, the Vikings obviously believe that Ponder gives them the best chance to win at the present time. He helped give them a chance on Sunday but things failed to come together for the Vikings, thanks in large part to their maddeningly porous two-minute defense.
Ponder and the Vikes will take another crack at it just three days from now against Washington and Robert Griffin III.