Ponder to start for Vikings, Bridgewater out

Christian Ponder will be the Vikings’ third starting quarterback in five games, as Teddy Bridgewater is inactive with a sprained ankle.

Five games into the NFL season and the Minnesota Vikings will have their third starting quarterback.

With Teddy Bridgewater suffering a sprained ankle on Sunday and only four days rest before their only prime-time game of the season, Christian Ponder will be in the starting saddle again, at least for one week, for Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the Green Bay Packers.

Bridgewater didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday and was limited during what was essentially a walk-through practice on Wednesday. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said all week that if Bridgewater could play and his ankle was good enough to allow the rookie quarterback to protect himself, then he would play. He was officially made inactive for the game.

Bridgewater made his first start of the season in a 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday after veteran starter Matt Cassel suffered several broken bones in his foot on Sept. 21 against the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater had a historic starting debut, completing 19 of 30 passes for 317 yards and a 98.9 passer rating. He is only the second NFL quarterback in the last decade to throw for 300 yards and no interceptions in his first career start, and he is the only rookie in Vikings history to throw for more than 300 yards in his first start. The only other quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions in their first start were Eric Hipple (1981), Browning Nagle (1992), Jay Fiedler (2000) and Griffin.

But with a sprained left ankle suffered in the fourth quarter of the win against the Falcons, the starting torch gets passed to Ponder, who last started a game at the end of last season.

Also inactive for the Vikings are LB Chad Greenway (rib/hand), TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), G David Yankey, OL Austin Wentworth and DE Scott Crichton.

Ponder has started 35 games for the Vikings, completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 6,436 yards, 38 touchdowns and 34 interceptions and a 77.3 passer rating.

Last year at Green Bay, Ponder completed 21 of 30 passes for 233 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in a 26-26 tie.

In six career games against the Packers, he has completed only 52.1 percent of his passes for 1,140 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions – a 76.6 rating – and has a 1-4-1 record against them. In his only win against them, at the old Metrodome, he threw for 234 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 120.2 rating.

The Vikings also activated quarterback Chandler Harnish from the practice squad.

Also inactive for the Vikings were LB Chad Greenway (rib/hand), TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), LB Brandon Watts, G David Yankey, OL Austin Wentworth and DE Scott Crichton.

For the Packers, WR Jarrett Boykin, QB Scott Tolzien, CB Demetri Goodson, LB Carl Bradford, LB Sam Barrington, C Garth Gerhart and DL Josh Boyd were inactive.

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