Vikings coach Leslie Frazier did not name a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game in Dallas, but he eliminated one of three candidates. Frazier said Monday either Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder would start, which leaves Matt Cassel out of the mix.
“[We’re] just trying to look at the whole picture and who will gives us the best chance to win from our standpoint as coaches,” Frazier said. “That’s what it’ll be based on. The other factors will be what the health of the other guys are, but primarily: Who do you think will give you the best chance in this ballgame against Dallas?”
Ponder played in Sunday night’s 44-31 loss to Green Bay at the Metrodome, completing 14 of 21 passes for 145 yards. He ran for 38 yards and a late touchdown.
Freeman, who started Oct. 21 against the Giants, dealt with concussion-like symptoms last week. Freeman, cleared to play Friday, was inactive Sunday but said he ran Saturday without any side effects.
“With this league, you really don’t know what to expect,” Freeman said on the quarterback situation. “I know that Christian and Matt are fierce competitors as well. I’m just going to continue to try to get ready myself and being in the best playing shape I can be.”
Said Frazier: “Christian did some good things in that ballgame yesterday. Obviously there are things he could do better, but that has something to do with it. He has led us to some wins in the past. Josh, we brought him in to evaluate and if he could be a guy that could be a potential player for us in the future.”
Cassel started in the Vikings’ only victory, 34-27 over Pittsburghs on Sept. 29 in London. He also started after the bye week in a 35-10 loss to Carolina before he was inactive against the Giants.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to,” Frazier said of Cassel. “He’s practiced well, prepared well. He was ready yesterday if needed be, and he’ll continue to work as hard he can. I don’t know if there’s any one thing I can point to and say why it’s Christian and Josh in this determination.”
No impact for Jennings
Greg Jennings left the Packers after last season to sign a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings that included $18 million guaranteed.
The veteran receiver played 38 of the team’s 47 offensive snaps Sunday but finished with only one reception for 9 yards. Through seven games, Jennings has 25 catches for 336 yards and two touchdowns in a passing offense that ranks 28th in the NFL, averaging 202.6 yards per game.
Frazier said he doesn’t need to say much to Jennings about frustration.
“He is an outstanding young man and a true team guy,” Frazier said. “He came up to me after the ballgame last night and just a classy, classy guy. Just his approach and his words of encouragement, I don’t know if we have to do anything to pacify him. He’s the ultimate team guy and wants to do whatever he can to help our team win, period.”
Cordarrelle Patterson (two) and Jerome Simpson (one) had the only other receptions by wide receivers. Patterson had the longest kickoff return in NFL history, going 109 yards, but was on the field for only 15 offensive plays. Receiver Joe Webb, who wasn’t targeted at all in the game, was on the field for 16.
The Vikings had two more injuries to defensive backs Sunday.
Safety Jamarca Sanford left because of a groin strain and cornerback Chris Cook suffered a hip muscle strain. The Vikings already are without safety Harrison Smith (turf toe).
Running back Matt Asiata (shoulder) and tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) missed Sunday’s game but could return to practice this week.
S.D. man pleads not guilty in death of Peterson’s son
A 27-year-old Sioux Falls, S.D., man accused of killing the 2-year-old son of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pleaded not guilty to the charges. KELO television of Sioux Falls reported that Joseph Robert Patterson is being held on a reduced bond of $750,000 on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.