- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are again in a holding pattern at quarterback, as they wait to see if Christian Ponder can return from a concussion in time to get ready for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Cassel came in just before halftime after Ponder left the game and completed 20 of his 33 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He remains the only Vikings quarterback to pass for more than 240 yards in a game this season, and he's played at least a quarter in all three of Minnesota's victories.
But coach Leslie Frazier wasn't ready to commit to a starter on Monday, even if Cassel turns out to be the choice.
"You could easily do that, but I think for us it would be wise to talk things through," Frazier said. "There's no reason at this point on Monday that we have to make a decision. We can talk it through and do what's best.
"But Matt did a terrific job in relief yesterday afternoon leading our team to victory. The throw he made on fourth-and-11, that was a big-time play for us. There was a free blitzer on that play and a guy barreling down on him, and he does a terrific job throwing the ball on time and taking us down to tie the game and eventually kick the game-winning field goal."
Ponder had completed just 3 of 8 passes for 40 yards before the concussion. But Frazier pointed out that Ponder had played well the previous week against Green Bay and had some good moments in previous games against Seattle and Washington.
"You can't, from my vantage point, just look at that first half of yesterday's ballgame," Frazier said. "You take a look at his body of work from the Green Bay game, where he played a pretty good football game.
"So going into this game on Sunday against Chicago, I really felt good about the way he practiced, the way he played previously. I don't think you can totally eliminate things he had done up to that point."
One factor that could come into play, Frazier said, is how soon Ponder is cleared to practice. If he's not ready to start taking part in game-planning activities early this week, that could sway the Vikings in another direction.
"Even tomorrow, we would ordinarily sit down with the quarterbacks and start talking to them about what we're thinking game-plan wise," Frazier said. "If Christian, even tomorrow, hasn't begun some of the testing they require, then yes it would factor in [to the decision]."
Frazier said of the Vikings' choices between their three quarterbacks -- Ponder, Cassel and Josh Freeman -- have been made based on who gives the team the best chance to win "up until this point." But he left the door open to make the decision on a developmental basis at some point this season.
With the Vikings at 3-8-1 and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, that could give Freeman another opportunity to get back on the field. The Vikings haven't used him since Oct. 21, when he completed 20 of 53 passes for 195 yards and suffered a concussion in a loss to the New York Giants just two weeks after he signed with the team.
General manager Rick Spielman has said the Vikings don't necessarily need to see Freeman play to evaluate him, but if there were ever a time to put him on the field, it might be at the end of a season where little is at stake.
"We'll determine what's best as we get ready for this next ballgame and take a look at what we're going to do game-plan-wise, and we'll see where it goes," Frazier said.
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