Christian Ponder (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Neither Christian Ponder nor the Vikings were making any guarantees about his status for Sunday, but Ponder said the non-throwing shoulder he dislocated on Thursday is feeling much better.
Christian Ponder’s left, non-throwing shoulder is doing much better after a weekend to start the healing process, but he is “day to day,” he said, after suffering a dislocation in Thursday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
“Range of motion on Friday was terrible. It’s actually pretty good today,” Ponder said after going through Monday’s walk-through practice. “It’s about trying to get the strength back, trying to get the full functionality back. Range of motion isn’t completely there, but it’s pretty good.”
Ponder didn’t test it much Monday, but he will try to get out and practice Wednesday. Head coach Leslie Frazier said Thursday is an important day for his quarterback to be operating the offense in practice after Wednesday’s installation.
The Vikings play at the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
“The thing with this injury is, it’s not really going to hinder anything. It’s not hindering my throwing motion or anything,” he said. “It’s just going to be taking a hit or something, and we don’t have fear that it’s going to get worse. It’s just going to be able to handle the pain, and if I can do it, then I’ll play.”
Ponder said his “optimistic” he will be able to play, despite his range of motion being affected. On Friday, it hurt just standing around. Now that level of discomfort is gone, he said.
Frazier said Ponder’s status Sunday would be determined by how well he can function with the ailing shoulder.
“You don’t want to put him in harm’s way. If he can’t protect himself you wouldn’t want to put him out there,” Frazier said. “So we’ll have a better idea when we come back on Wednesday and start practicing. He’s made progress, which is encouraging. We’ll have to see how much progress he makes in the next couple of days and moving on to Thursday and Friday as well.”
Ponder will continue to do strength tests throughout the week to gauge how the shoulder is responding to treatment and time to heal, but Frazier admitted they can’t really simulate him getting tackled in practice.
If Ponder isn’t able to go, Frazier would have to choose between Cassel, who has started two games this season, and Josh Freeman, who has started one game since joining the Vikings in early October. Frazier called that decision the “proverbial question.”
“We got two other capable guys that are capable of starting for us and doing a good job,” Frazier said. “So one of those two guys will end up being the starter if he can’t go.”
Ponder hurt the shoulder late in the third quarter of the Vikings’ win when he was diving for the end zone at the tail end of a 14-yard gain. He came up about foot short of the end zone and was replaced by Matt Cassel for the remainder of the game, despite initially wanting to go back in.
“I wanted to be out there. It was probably the smart decision not to put me back out there,” he said. “The pain wasn’t really that bad at that point – the adrenaline was still going. But once we were in the locker room, I started feeling it, and it hurt pretty bad. We ended up winning the game. Matt played well, so it was a good decision, I guess.”
S Jamarca Sanford (groin), CB Chris Cook (hip) and TE Rhett Ellison (ankle) all returned to the practice field Monday.
DT Fred Evans (knee) and TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) remained sidelined.
DT Letroy Guion (chest/knee), G Charlie Johnson (elbow) and RB Matt Asiata (shoulder) all attended practice, but it’s unclear if they will be able to go on Wednesday when full practices return to the schedule.
RT Phil Loadholt attended practice after suffering a concussion on Nov. 3, but the he was continuing to work through the NFL’s post-concussion protocol.
During a player visit by the Vikings to the Minneapolis VA Medical Center on Tuesday, punter Jeff Locke will present a check for $10,000, directed toward improving the recreation room there. The donation was the deal that Locke negotiated with QB Josh Freeman to take Locke’s jersey number 12 when Freeman signed with the Vikings in early October.
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.