Upon Further Review: Vikings Week 8

October, 28, 2013
10/28/13
3:05
PM ET
A review of four hot issues following the Minnesota Vikings' 44-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday:

Who's the QB? Coach Leslie Frazier wouldn't say Monday whether the Vikings will make another quarterback change before Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he did say Matt Cassel won't be in the mix to start; the decision will be between Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman, Frazier said. Freeman has been cleared to return from a concussion and will participate in practice Wednesday, and after an underwhelming performance from Ponder, the Vikings might decide they're best off going to Freeman and seeing if he can improve following an ugly first start with the Vikings. Freeman said he was first able to run around without feeling concussion symptoms Saturday, so there was no way he would have been ready to play Sunday. But if he's healthy, it seems quite likely the Vikings could go back to him.

[+] EnlargeGreg Jennings
AP Photo/Jim MoneProduction has been hard to come by for Vikings receiver Greg Jennings this season.
Jennings quiet: Wide receiver Greg Jennings had just one catch for nine yards against his former team Sunday night, and his numbers in seven games are far from overwhelming (25 catches, 336 yards, two touchdowns). Jennings looked frustrated with Ponder on one throw Sunday, when Ponder failed to deliver the ball to Jennings running through the middle of the Packers' defense and tossed the ball out of bounds. But Frazier said Jennings came to him after the game with words of encouragement, and again called Jennings "the ultimate team guy." Jennings did not talk to reporters in the locker room after the game, bolting quickly following his on-field embrace with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers didn't divulge what was said, but it's reasonable to wonder if Jennings was trying to smooth things over after what he said about Rodgers this summer.

Secondary in for more pain: The Vikings were missing both starting safeties by the end of the game Sunday, with Harrison Smith already on injured reserve and Jamarca Sanford leaving with a strained groin. Cornerback Chris Cook also left with a hip muscle strain, and though both players could be back Sunday, the Vikings might have more trouble ahead of them trying to stop quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Rodgers targeted rookie Xavier Rhodes early, before the Packers went to work with wide receiver Jordy Nelson matched up on Josh Robinson in the slot. Teams have continued to pick on Robinson all season, and Rodgers drilled the first of his two touchdowns to Nelson over Robinson.

Signs of discord? It doesn't seem as though Vikings players have started to quit on the season yet, at least not from Frazier's perspective; the coach said Monday he still liked the effort the Vikings showed on a goal-line stand toward the end of Sunday's game, long after the Packers had pulled away, but admitted he wanted to "have a pulse" on whether players were mailing it in. "We're approaching our eighth game of the season," he said. "You have to remind them there are a lot of reasons for us to really work as hard as we can to get a win this coming Sunday. We do have to have a feel for what guys are thinking and where their mindset is. It's important."

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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