Souhan: Could Ponder's ribs be a takeout order by Frazier? We wonder …

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 5:49 AM

– Christian Ponder played an entire NFL game Sunday, went through meetings and treatment on Monday, flew all night to London, played with schoolkids at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, and represented the Vikings at a news conference on Wednesday.

Sometime in that 72-hour window, the Vikings determined that Ponder has sore ribs. Here’s how the conversation might have gone:

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: “How are those ribs, Christian?”

Ponder: “Fine. Why?”

Frazier: “We think you took a hit there in the first quarter. We think that affected your play. In fact, you got hit so hard it may have affected you retroactively. We think it explains the way you played in Detroit.”

Ponder: “I’m ready to play, coach.”

Frazier: “I’ve already talked with our doctors. They’re going to examine you now, and they’re going to find that your most important rib — let’s call it the ‘throwing rib’ — is bruised so badly that it’s a wonder you’re still upright. I’m prescribing one Sunday of rest.”

Ponder: “But we’re in England. We’re promoting the NFL. The most exciting play in football might be the interception return for a touchdown. You really think you have someone who can fill my shoes?”

Frazier: “We’ve been studying tape of Matt Cassel. He can throw a pick-six with the best of them. We’ll be fine. Now, really, Christian, I can tell you feel faint. Why don’t you lay down for a week or two? Remember, you have a team credit card, so if we leave you behind in England, you can always book a slow boat ’round the cape.”

Ponder: “I thought I was the starting quarterback.”

Frazier: “You are. We spent a first-round draft pick on you. We’ll always love you. We just think it’s time we saw other people. It’s not you. It’s us.”

Ponder: “Well, that’s reassuring. I thought you were taking my job away from me.”

Frazier: “Not at all. But seeing as how we’re going to place you in traction on Sunday, we really do need to get Matt ready to play. We still want you to talk to the British media all week. You’re good at that. You never get down, even after you crush the dreams of millions of Vikings fans. We love that about you. You know how to read a script — you have to get better, the whole team has to get better, we have to get a win. Excellent work. We feel you’re an excellent representative for our organization.

‘‘Kind of like Ragnar.”

Ponder: “Well, it would be nice to take a couple of Sundays off. I can handle Viking Nation booing me. England Nation booing me would be tough.”

Frazier: “You’re catching on, Christian. No, don’t laugh. Remember? That’s when your rib hurts the most.”

Ponder: “I did feel a twinge.”

Frazier: “Yes, you did. Now, remember, we don’t know how Cassel is going to play, and our negotiations with Brett Favre are not going well. He wants more money from the Wilfs than that New Jersey judge. We may need you on Sunday. We may need you after the bye. So I’m going to give you a special pill to take in case we need to put you in the game.”

Ponder: “Looks like a Tic-Tac.”

Frazier: “Amazing how far the pharmaceutical companies have come, isn’t it?”

Ponder: “This is really going to work?”

Frazier: “We’ve tried everything else. We gave you the best athlete in football. We signed a star wide receiver. We drafted another talented receiver. We told you we loved you. We stuck with you during your slump last year. We wanted you to take us to the playoffs again this year. Then we play Detroit and you act like you’ve never seen a blitz. Or a cornerback. That’s when you hurt your rib.”

Ponder: “I thought I hurt it against Cleveland?”

Frazier: “Maybe. These rib injuries are very mysterious.”

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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