Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Ponder will start for Vikings, barring unforeseen setback

Posted by: Mark Craig under Injury report, Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier Updated: November 15, 2013 - 1:55 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier wouldn't come out and say Christian Ponder will start on Sunday at Seattle. But he did admit that's the likely scenario, barring an unforeseen change in Ponder's progress from a separated left [non-throwing] shoulder on Saturday.

"Christian is better," Frazier said after today's practice. "We gave him a little bit more today in practice, so that was encouraging. We'll see how he feels tomorrow with the extended work he got today and then we'll make a determination based on where he is tomorrow. We want to make sure that he feels comfortable as well as our medical staff as well.

"The way he moved around today, he looked pretty good. Hopefully, he'll wake up tomorrow without any residual effects, negative effects from the workload that we gave him. But you never know."

Frazier wouldn't say whether Matt Cassell or Josh Freeman would serve as the backup, although Cassel looks to be the No. 2. Frazier also said it's possible the team will keep all three quarterbacks active against Seattle.

In other news:

  • We'll have the official injury report later, but it looks like NT Fred Evans (knee) will play after missing the past two games. He got more work in today's practice and should play if he doesn't experience any issues with the knee tomorrow.
  • RB Adrian Peterson (groin) was held out of practice entirely for the second straight day. "We held him out to get him ready for Sunday," Frazier said. "He should be ready to go. No concerns. ... It's more managing him. Not wanting to overextend him. He has a good feel for what we're doing game-plan wise so he should be fine when we get to Sunday."
  • NT Letroy Guion (chest/knee) has regressed in his recovery from injuries that knocked him out of the Redskins game. Frazier said Guion did "OK" in practice today, but "he may or not make it" on Sunday. With Guion's status up in the air, Frazier said the team might have to revisit its plan at nose tackle. Frazier orginally said veteran three-technique tackle Kevin Williams wouldn't start at nose, but would get some snaps there. Now, Williams starting is a possibility. "We'll have to rethink that," Frazier said. "We were hoping that Letroy would make it. Not certain that he will now. So we'll have to go back and discuss the best way to go."
  • Frazier said he was surprised to hear that KFAN radio was reporting that Frazier became animated during Thursday's practice. "How would KFAN know about that?" Frazier said. "It's just things that happen in practice that you're dealing with. Just doing what we do. Just some of those things you have to deal with." Frazier went on to say how important this week of practice is. "Tough seattle team, tough environment and also where we are in our season," he said. "Just making sure that we stay on point. We're 1-0 in the second half of the season. We want to be 2-0 after Sunday afternoon. Just want to make sure we're all on board with getting that done." Frazier also said what he did on Thursday wasn't unusual. "That's why I'm wondering why it was even reported," Frazier said. "I don't think I did anything out of character, anything that I have done in the past."
  • Frazier wouldn't say how the team plans to handle receiver Jerome Simpson's playing time on Sunday. He did, however, say that Simpson will be active and will play in the game. Simpson was arrested and charged with two counts of DWI this week. Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to start ahead of Simpson this week. "[The league] has kind of given us some information on how to proceed this week," Frazier said. "We'll know more when we come back next week. We have an idea of what we can and cannot do this week." As for what the team will do with Simpson beyond this week, Frazier wouldn't say. "I can't go beyond this week," he said. "We'll know more next week. All I know is what we'll be able to do this week." Asked if he was content with the league dictating Simpson's punishment, Frazier said, "I don't know if content is the word, but we'll see what happens when we talk again next week. I know our General Manager, Rick Spielman, will be on the phone with the league on Monday, as he has been throughout this week, talking about what can and can't be done and how we proceed. He'll pick up those conversations again on Monday."

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