Scoggins: Ponder pained about having to sit out

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 9:13 AM

The quarterback's arm "never got to a point where it was good enough" for him to play.

GREEN BAY, WIS. - Christian Ponder removed his shirt late Saturday night, and the back of his right arm was a dark shade of purple.

"It's basically a deep thigh bruise but in my throwing arm," he said.

Publicly, the Vikings didn't act overly alarmed by Ponder's injury this week, but that large bruise ultimately prevented him from playing in his first playoff game.

Ponder's surprise scratch left Joe Webb as the Vikings' emergency starter against Green Bay, but any thought of Webb shining in the moment evaporated when he bounced his first pass off the Lambeau Field turf. That set the stage for a night of wild throws and general incompetence by Webb in a 24-10 loss that left an ugly stain on an otherwise successful Vikings season.

Technically, Ponder described his injury as a deep contusion on his triceps, though the Vikings said it was his elbow on the injury report. He said the injury limited his flexibility and prevented him from raising the ball to his chest for his normal throwing motion.

Ponder tested his arm in pregame by making 10 throws, none with any zip. He said those soft tosses were the extent of his velocity. "It was clear it wasn't going to work," Ponder said.

Ponder said he consulted with the team's coaches and medical staff and that they made a "cumulative" decision for him to be inactive. He said the pain was tolerable but that he lacked the velocity to be functional. "I think everyone kind of decided with how limited I was that it definitely was better for Joe to be out there," he said.

Ponder's injury managed to accomplish two things: He quieted those who still believe Webb is a better option, and he likely angered a healthy segment of fans by not playing through the injury.

That's always a tricky discussion because no one other than Ponder knows how his arm feels. We're not in his mind and body. Football players are conditioned -- and expected -- to play through injuries and maladies, especially in the postseason. It's part of their job description. We expect them to fight through it at all costs.

But if a quarterback can't throw the ball any harder than Ponder did in early warmups, he's doing more harm than good by being on the field.

Webb undoubtedly will be ridiculed for his ineffectiveness, but he's not an NFL-caliber quarterback and was put in a tough spot. He's elusive when a play breaks down and he's able to freelance, but he did not attempt a pass all season before Saturday, and he's just not an accurate passer.

The Vikings cut veteran Sage Rosenfels and didn't sign a competent backup to Ponder. That was shortsighted on their part, and it cost them at the worst possible time.

Ponder banged his throwing arm on the helmet of Packers safety Morgan Burnett last Sunday. He said his arm improved throughout the week and he felt optimistic that he would play. Leslie Frazier listed Ponder as questionable on the final injury report, but given the general lack of concern, that designation felt like a touch of gamesmanship and subterfuge on Frazier's part to keep the Packers guessing.

Ponder made some throws in practice the previous two days and threw once more in the hotel pool Saturday morning. "The arm just never got to a point where it was good enough to be out there," he said.

It's disappointing because Ponder played the best game of his career last week with a playoff berth at stake. He didn't just manage the game. He didn't just hand the ball to Adrian Peterson and get out of the way. He made clutch throws at critical times. He threw three touchdown passes and posted a career-high 120.2 passer rating.

The Vikings thought he would build on that performance. He acted loose and relaxed this week. He projected a sense of calm after showing that he could rise to the occasion in a big moment. Nothing seemed amiss.

By Saturday afternoon, that all changed. So did the Vikings' hopes of a playoff upset. "I took a lot to get here," Ponder said. "It was frustrating having to watch, but it was something out of my control."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close