Hope is that Ponder will start finale

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2011 - 12:52 AM

Christian Ponder appears likely to start Sunday despite suffering a concussion Saturday.

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Christian Ponder talked to team trainer Eric Sugarman on Saturday.

Photo: Mckenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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Christian Ponder appears likely to start at quarterback for the Vikings on Sunday against the Bears despite suffering a concussion at Washington on Saturday.

The first-round draft pick left the game in the third quarter, and backup Joe Webb passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in a 33-26 Vikings victory.

"We're hoping that Christian gets through the concussion tests and he is able to play," coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. "It is important to us to continue to get him the snaps that he needs to continue his development. That's a big part of what we want be able to get accomplished long-term, seeing him play at the end of this season."

"Christian is still our No. 1 quarterback, but you do have to take a real good look at Joe. It's a good situation ... to have two young quarterbacks that you have confidence in and each time Joe has gotten into the ballgame, it has really gotten up a spark. We're going to try to get him more snaps in the Chicago game if we can."

Frazier said he hoped Ponder would be cleared to play by midweek.

"We don't want to get to Friday or Saturday wondering if he's going to get cleared," Frazier said. "We need him to be able to take some snaps in practice and make a determination whether or not he can really function at the level we need him to function."

Eric Sugarman, the team's head athletic trainer, said Ponder is "doing great."

"We now will take him through the NFL-mandated protocol, which is the impact test, getting him to be asymptomatic, getting him to exercise without symptoms and getting cleared by a physician and ultimately the NFL outside neurologist," Sugarman said. "He's doing excellent today, really doesn't have any symptoms."

King activated

The Vikings placed Adrian Peterson on injured reserve because of his knee injury and promoted Caleb King, a rookie running back from Georgia, to the active roster to back up Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker.

Mickey Shuler was activated from the practice squad and fellow tight end Allen Reisner was waived. Reisner, an undrafted rookie from Iowa, likely will go back on the practice squad when he clears waivers.

Etc.

• Guard Steve Hutchinson, who sat out Saturday because of a concussion, still is suffering some effects and has not been cleared to play. Cornerback Asher Allen, also sidelined by a concussion, might be cleared to practice Wednesday.

• Jay Cutler is scheduled to have pins removed from his right hand Tuesday, but it didn't sound as though the injured Bears quarterback would return to play Sunday, as coach Lovie Smith told reporters Monday he was looking forward to seeing Josh McCown play again.

• Frazier thought the Vikings defense did a good job of closing out Saturday's game, saying: "I really like the way they finished the game in a two-minute situation -- just understanding that situation, not being overly concerned about the yards, just knowing how to win the game, which is something we've had a little trouble with on both sides of the ball. To finish the game was a big deal."

• Cedric Griffin, who struggled this season and lost his job as a starting cornerback because Frazier thought Griffin's confidence was gone, was lauded by the coach for his play Saturday. "He was very competitive, played smart, played the techniques that we asked of him, repeatedly," Frazier said. "... I was really encouraged by his play and his attitude and effort as well."

• Safety Mistral Raymond's interception Saturday was the Vikings' seventh this season, the lowest total in the NFL. The team record for fewest interceptions in a season is eight, in both 2000 and 2001.

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