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Saturday, January 5, 2013
Christian Ponder (tricep) inactive

ESPN.com news services

Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback Christian Ponder was inactive for the team's NFC wild-card game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night with what he later called a deep tricep bruise.

The surprise announcement about 90 minutes before the game meant Joe Webb started at quarterback for the Vikings. Minnesota ended up losing to the Packers 24-10 with Webb completing 11-of-30 passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He also had seven carries for 68 yards.

Webb didn't have a pass attempt during the regular season. He appeared in one game, for a kneel-down and a couple of handoffs at the end of a blowout win over Tennessee.

Webb dropped to 1-2 as a starter in his career. His first two starts came after Brett Favre was concussed late during the 2010 season.

Webb did lead the Vikings past the Washington Redskins in Week 16 last season after Ponder was knocked out in the same game star running back Adrian Peterson suffered a torn ACL and MCL. Webb completed 4-of-5 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns and also had five rushes for 34 yards against Washington. The following week, he was picked off twice in a loss to the Chicago Bears.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound sixth-round draft pick out of Alabama-Birmingham is athletic enough to play wide receiver, where he made one start in 2011 for the Vikings and played a whole season as a sophomore.

Ponder completed a short throwing session during pregame warmups at Lambeau Field to test the elbow. He threw about 10 passes, none that went longer than 15 yards, and then left the field with Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.

"Close," Ponder said of the decision not to play. "We went out pregame and threw a little bit, and just made the decision that it would probably be better off playing Joe with how limited I'd be."

Webb and No. 3 quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson continued warmups on the field.

Ponder was hurt when the teams played each other last Sunday, when Packers safety Morgan Burnett delivered a jarring hit on a blitz. Ponder finished the game with a career-high 120.2 passer rating and three touchdowns in the 37-34 win.

But his participation in practice this week was limited and Webb took many of the turns with the first-team offense. Ponder was listed as questionable on the injury report, and took only about a dozen soft, short throws in early warm-ups.

Ponder had some problems with swelling and tightness in his throwing elbow at Florida State. He twice had fluid drained from the elbow joint during his senior year.

Also inactive for the Vikings were wide receiver Stephen Burton, cornerback Brandon Burton, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, offensive lineman Troy Kropog, defensive end George Johnson and defensive end D'Aundre Reed.

Defensive end Brian Robison (sprained right shoulder) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (broken right hand) were both active and in the starting lineup.

For the Packers, wide receiver Donald Driver was a healthy scratch.

Green Bay's other inactives were wide receiver Jarrett Boykin; cornerback Davon House; running back James Starks; linebacker Frank Zombo; defensive tackle Jordan Miller; and defensive end Jerel Worthy, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Worthy was hurt at Minnesota last week.

Information from ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, ESPN's Josina Anderson and The Associated Press was used in this report.