Vikes to start Christian Ponder
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Three days after Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier pulled Christian Ponder from a game against the Seattle Seahawks, he announced Wednesday the quarterback will start the team's next game, against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.[+] EnlargeHannah Foslien/Getty Images Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder played his only turnover-free game of the season when he started against the Packers on Oct. 27.
Frazier cited Ponder's previous success against the Packers as the reason for sticking with him over Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel. He played his only turnover-free game of the season in a loss to the Packers on Oct. 27, and threw for three touchdowns in the Vikings' Week 17 victory over the Packers to clinch a playoff spot last year.
That was Ponder's only win over the Packers, though.
In five games against Green Bay, he has completed 71 of 140 passes (50.71 percent) for 907 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
And in two games at Lambeau Field, Ponder is 28 of 59 for 309 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. His Total QBR in those games is 6.9. Ponder missed the Vikings' playoff loss in Green Bay last January with a bruised elbow.
"He's had some success against Green Bay's defense. He's familiar with their team and their personnel," Frazier said. "He's played at Lambeau before. So it should be a good opportunity for him. Good opportunity for our team."
Ponder was benched in the fourth quarter last Sunday after completing just four of his first nine passes in the second half for 15 yards and getting picked off twice -- including one interception that was returned for a touchdown. Ponder was lifted for Cassel with just over 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Freeman, meanwhile, continues to languish on the bench after signing with the Vikings on Oct. 7, getting rushed into a game two weeks later and completing just 20 of his 53 passes in an Oct. 21 loss to the New York Giants.
Frazier said Cassel would likely be the backup again Sunday, meaning Freeman will be inactive unless the Vikings decide to dress all three quarterbacks.
"In some ways, based on the information that we received, he's exceeded [expectations]," Frazier said. "He's been all-in, he's been a professional in everything we've asked him to do. I like the way he handles himself in the pocket, in the meetings in the locker room. Much better than some things that we had heard."
But after signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the team, Freeman will have to wait until at least Dec. 1 to get his second start.
"There may come a time here where he's out there," Frazier said. "But for this week it's going to be Christian."
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