Vikings coach Leslie Frazier surprised many Wednesday by announcing that Christian Ponder will remain the starting quarterback for Sunday's game at Green Bay.
Frazier defended his decision by saying that Ponder gives the team the best chance to win. He said Matt Cassel likely will serve as the backup with Josh Freeman as the No. 3 quarterback.
"I believe, like in every decision you make, you try to make a decision based on who you think gives you the best chance to succeed," Frazier said. "In our case, we think that’s Christian at this point. He’s had some success against Green Bay’s defense. He’s familiar with their team and their personnel. He’s had some success up at, ... he’s played at Lambeau before. So it should be a good opportunity for him. Good opportunity for our team."
Frazier removed Ponder in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 41-20 loss at Seattle after he committed his third turnover, a pick-six. Ponder threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions to start the fourth quarter to turn a relatively competitive game into a rout.
Ponder now has committed 13 turnovers in seven starts this season. Ponder, however, said he was not surprised that he's keeping his job.
"No, not at all," he said. "I was operating under the assumption that I would be, unless I was talked otherwise. But I appreciate coach Frazier having the confidence in me to be able to go out this week and play.”
Frazier said he hasn't ruled out Freeman getting another shot this season and he said he still believes signing Freeman to a $2 million contract on Oct. 8 was the right decision.
"When you look at where we were at the time and what we were trying to accomplish and what we were facing to not take advantage of that opportunity to bring him in and be able to be around him, take a look at him, see if he could help our club," he said. I think we'd be kicking ourselves just wondering. We still have other games to play. There still may be other opportunities for him. No regrets about bringing him in, especially where we were at the time and where we are now. No regrets in that regard."
Frazier said he's had no issues with Freeman and that he's"exceeded' some of his expectations.
"In some ways, based on the information that we received, he's exceeded those," 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."