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Ponder expects to play (with harness) Sunday
The Vikings quarterback missed the final 17 offensive snaps of the Vikings' win over the Washington Redskins one week ago after diving for the goal line and taking a big hit that left him about a foot short of a touchdown and with a bum shoulder that knocked him out of the game.
Ponder is viewing this week as an opportunity to show mental and physical resolve as he prepares for the hard-hitting Seattle Seahawks.
"I think it's a great opportunity for that and to show guys you can play with injury. Everybody has the quarterback as the softest position in the room, so it's an opportunity to get out there and show a little toughness," Ponder said.
He took the majority of snaps in Wednesday's practice, one week after suffering the injury and was back again Thursday taking the first-team reps.
Head coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder "did some good things" with limited opportunities Thursday and will see how he does Friday, gauging the shoulder for soreness.
"I don't know how it's going to feel. Obviously, I'm going to get hit at some point. Hopefully not, but we'll see how it ends up feeling," he said. "But I'm sure it will be a little painful and I don't know, hopefully, the Seahawks don't have a target on it."
The Vikings haven't declared Ponder the starter yet – or a backup – but with each passing day of him taking first-team reps in practice, it's looking more and more likely that they expect Ponder and his shoulder to be ready.
Ponder didn't expect he would wear any additional padding but was expecting to wear a harness.
As for whether or not he will play, Ponder is leaving that up to Frazier and the training staff, but said he expects to play.
His workload this week would seem to back that assessment.
"Honestly, it's a lot better than I expected to be all week. I was a little pessimistic about what was going to happen over the weekend. I was very uncomfortable," Ponder said. "I woke up Monday and Tuesday and I kept feeling better and better. Our training staff has done such a great job of getting me to feel better. So I threw it around a lot more than I expected to yesterday. Practiced pretty much the whole practice and I thought it went well. And each day it's going to keep getting better."
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.
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