The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have essentially wrapped up their practice weeks in advance of Saturday night's wild-card playoff at Lambeau Field. There is a relatively short list of significant injuries in play this week, and by far the most intriguing to emerge is the sore right elbow of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.
Ponder suffered the injury in the second quarter of last Sunday's 37-34 victory over the Packers after a hit by Packers safety Morgan Burnett. He had an ice pack on the elbow immediately after the game and was limited in practice this week. The Vikings "didn't ask him to do a whole lot" in practice Thursday, coach Leslie Frazier told reporters, because they wanted to "let that elbow calm down a little bit."
There is every expectation Ponder will play Saturday night, but it's becoming clear he won't be at 100 percent. You wonder if his injury is significant enough for the Vikings to put their third quarterback, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, in uniform on game day for the first time this season. Joe Webb is the No. 2 quarterback but has played only three snaps this season.
Let's take a look at the rest of the teams' injury lists:
Vikings: Cornerback Antoine Winfield (hand) again sat out practice but there remains optimism that he will play Saturday. He worked on the sidelines and, as Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com notes, Winfield will wear a larger protective cast Saturday than he did last Sunday. Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie (shoulder) isn't expected to play. All other players should be available.
Packers: Cornerback Tramon Williams didn't practice Thursday because of an illness, but he is expected to be ready for the game. Receivers Jordy Nelson (knee) and Randall Cobb (ankle) both were full participants Thursday, making it likely the Packers will have their full complement of top-end receivers. Defensive back Charles Woodson (collarbone) was a full participant and remains on track to play. Receiver Jarrett Boykin (ankle) again sat out practice and would seem unlikely to play.