Vikings notebook: Ponder seems likely to start vs. Dallas

 

In this week’s episode of As the Three-Headed Quarterback Turns, we catch up with Matt Cassel, the only Vikings quarterback to both win a game this season and be told this week that he wasn’t under consideration as the guy who gives the team the best chance to beat the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday.

Does that sound fair to you, Matt?

“Unfortunately, I don’t make the decisions,” Cassel said after Wednesday’s practice.

“Coach [Leslie] Frazier and whoever is making the decisions have decided to go this direction. As a player, you might not always agree with it, but you accept it and move forward and continue to work hard. You have a choice. Any time adversity comes our way as players, we can feel sorry for ourselves and become a distraction. Or you can continue to work, be professional and do what you’re paid to do. That’s my choice.”

Cassel (1-1) will be the No. 3 quarterback. Frazier wouldn’t announce his choice between Josh Freeman (0-1) and Christian Ponder (0-4), but put your money on Ponder making his second consecutive start even though Freeman has been cleared to return from the concussion that kept him out of last week’s 44-31 loss to the Packers.

Ponder was seen taking first-team reps during the portion of practice open to reporters. Freeman stayed after practice to run plays with the young backups. And Ponder’s body language suggested he has been given another shot to jump-start what’s left of his career in Minnesota.

In four games this year, Ponder is completing 60.3 percent of his passes (73 of 121) for 836 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions and a 69.5 passer rating. In two games, Cassel is completing 69.6 percent for 489 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a 92.0 passer rating. And in his only game, a 23-7 loss to the Giants after he had practiced only four times with the first team, Freeman completed 37.7 percent (20 of 53) for 190 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 40.6 passer rating.

Last week, Ponder completed 14 of 21 passes for 145 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and an 86.4 passer rating. The Vikings converted only two of eight third downs, while the Packers converted 13 of 18.

Asked if anything felt different from his first go-round as starter during the team’s 0-3 start, Ponder said: “I felt like the game was even slower than it was before. Just felt like I was seeing things pretty well. Seeing coverages, seeing safety rotations. I could see the field pretty well.”

Ponder, who wouldn’t give up Frazier’s secret, was asked if it was time for some continuity at a position that’s seen three different starters the past three games.

“I’m selfish in that fact,” he said. “I want to be the guy who is consistently out there. But I think guys are handling it pretty well.”

On Monday, Frazier said age and the future of the quarterback position beyond this season were not factors in his decision this week. Ponder and Freeman are 25. Cassel is 31.

“I’m not going to get into specifics about what [Frazier and I] talked about, but obviously we both had our opinions on it,” Cassel said. “But at the end of the day, he’s the head coach. He makes the decisions.”

As for Frazier choosing not to reveal his decision publicly, he said he’s not sure what kind of problems that will cause for the Cowboys.

“I hope it makes a difference,” he said. “I don’t know if it will. Everybody comes in saying, ‘We’ve got to stop [Adrian Peterson], so it doesn’t always make a difference. But it’s not necessary that I have to divulge anything on Wednesday.”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett didn’t sound too flustered when asked what problems it presents.

“That’s just part of the preparation,” he said. “When you’re in this situation, you have to first and foremost prepare for the system and the other people who play in the system. Certainly Adrian Peterson is a guy who will be in the ballgame regardless of who the quarterback is. … You try your best to try and evaluate the differences in the system with Ponder playing and Freeman playing, and try to make your best estimation.”

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 88 4th Qtr 2:37
LA Lakers 86
LA Clippers 61 3rd Qtr 11:18
Golden State 62
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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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 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
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

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