Frazier vague on Vikings QB decision

Leslie Frazier said Christian Ponder is the team's starting quarterback, but later said they will talk about the situation some more next week.

Leslie Frazier isn't ready to commit one way or the other on his starting quarterback when the Minnesota Vikings return from their bye week to face the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 13.

Christian Ponder didn't play in the Vikings' 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in London on Sunday because of a fractured rib, but backup Matt Cassel led the team to its first win of the season while completing 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.4 passer rating. That was higher than any single-game rating Ponder has had in his 29 starts for the Vikings.

Much of Frazier's decision appears dependent on how well Ponder's rib is doing when the players return to Winter Park on Monday.

"Christian is still injured, but he's our starting quarterback," Frazier said. "We'll see how he does coming out of the bye."

But as he continued his Tuesday press conference, things got a little more vague.

Asked if Ponder would start against Carolina if he is healthy, Frazier wasn't as decisive.

"We'll talk about a lot of things when we get to next week. We'll see what happens when we get to next week," he said, adding later: "It's hard to be concrete when you know that Christian is dealing with an injury, so we'll see what happens."

In three starts this year, Ponder has completed 59 of 100 passes for two touchdowns and five interceptions and a 65.9 rating.

Cassel didn't have a turnover on Sunday, but he avoided at least one interception when he overthrew Cordarrelle Patterson, who knocked the ball out of the defender's hands. Cassel also had a fumble that receiver Jerome Simpson recovered for a 10-yard gain.

Frazier said he will consider everything, from downfield passing success to near failures with turnovers, when making his decision.

"I think you have to. I think you have to look at the entire picture. And I definitely have to do that," he said.

"We'll talk about a lot of things, but it's more than one ballgame. He did a good job," Frazier said of Cassel. "I don't want to take anything away from what Matt did. But we'll try to do what's best for our team. If we thought that Matt gave us the best chance to beat Carolina, then we'd approach that situation as well. But if Christian is healthy, we'll take a look at what we need to do."

Ponder was booed several times in his final start at the Metrodome, but Frazier tried to put that part of the equation aside.

"I don't think our fans will be upset. They just want the Vikings to win. We've got great fans; they want the best for our football team. And they've been so supportive throughout," Frazier said. "I would expect our fans to be cheering for everybody that's wearing purple."


  • The Vikings waived offensive tackle DeMarcus Love on Tuesday. He had just finished serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.

  • Frazier said he expects cornerback Chris Cook (groin) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) to practice next week when the players return from their bye. They each missed Sunday's game.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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