Leslie Frazier said he wanted to hold off on announcing his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Christian Ponder has been told what the decision will be and won’t say either, but his demeanor said enough.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little disappointing and frustrating,” Ponder said when asked about the organization’s change of direction recently with playing Matt Cassel in Week 4 and signing Josh Freeman earlier this week. “I’m not going to get too discouraged about it. I’m a man of faith and I know God’s in control. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what the next few weeks, few months, hold. We’ll see how everything plays out. But I’m working on a lot of things during practice and trying to get better as a quarterback. I’m enjoying it, being out here with the guys. Who knows how it’s going to play out?”
Cassel continued to take the first reps in the rotation during the portion of practice open to reporters, but Ponder continued to get some reps, he said. He continues to be listed on the injury report as limited with a rib injury, but he said he is “definitely” healthy.
“I have been. There’s still a little stiffness and a little bit of pain. But it’s some along way in two weeks. The bye week definitely helped me,” he said.
Frazier said he still wanted to see how Cassel and Ponder perform in Friday’s practice before making an announcement, even if he has made a decision already.
“It’s not an open competition, but I want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing,” Frazier said. “When we go through practice tomorrow, see where those guys are, and just try to do the best thing for our team.”
Ponder said he has talked to general manager Rick Spielman about his future and acknowledged that the signing of Freeman has changed the direction the Vikings appear to be going with their quarterback position.
“Some of the dynamics of this organization have changed, obviously, with bringing in Josh. But I’m preparing like I’m going to be on the field, and my biggest focus is to control what I can control. And what’s out of my hands is out of my hands,” Ponder said.
“It’s a waste of energy and thought to think about what could happen and what might not happen. I’m just trying to enjoy these moments because life in the NFL doesn’t last long, whether you have a long career for 15 years. But when you look at it in life, 15 years out of, say, 90 years is a short window, so you got to enjoy every minute of it, even when things aren’t going the best. And I’m going to see how it plays out. It’ll be interesting to see.”
That doesn’t mean he wants to be traded.
“A trade would be difficult to deal with,” Ponder said.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen. I hope to still be here. It’s the front office’s call. You never know – as we’ve seen the past week – what’s going to happen.
Ponder said it might be a surprise to some people, but even after everything that has happened in the past two weeks – being replaced by Cassel as the starter after Ponder suffered a rib injury and having Frazier admit that starting Freeman in the future is part of the plan – he still has confidence in himself.
“My confidence is high, which is a little surprising probably to people. I’ve gotten out here, and slung the ball around pretty well. The past few years, you figure out where your confidence needs to lie in, and sometimes it’s not on the football field. It’s more important things. And when that happens, it’s funny how your confidence on the field works out,” he said.
“They’re still supportive, and I’m still encouraged. I’m not discouraged with what’s going on. I’m still focused on what I have to do and get better at and can control.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.