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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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 49 3rd Qtr
LA Clippers 49
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 49 2nd Half 6:48
Northwestern 64
UAB 13 1st Half 6:33
North Carolina 25
IUPUI 24 1st Half 4:47
Pepperdine 24
Santa Clara 28 1st Half 0:44
St Marys-CA 34
Oakland 4:00 PM
Maryland
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 27 3rd Qtr 5:06
Duke 17
Miami-Florida 6 2nd Qtr 6:59
So Carolina 7
Boston College 0 1st Qtr 12:17
Penn State 0
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 58 2nd Half 3:25
Houston 44
BYU 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland
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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 NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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