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.


Report: Christian Ponder named Vikings starter for Sunday

Posted by: under Vikings, Packers, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: October 18, 2011 - 5:28 PM

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported Tuesday afternoon that Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has made his decision, planning to start rookie Christian Ponder at quarterback this weekend against Green Bay. The news was confirmed later Tuesday via a Tweet from SportsTrust Advisors, the agency that manages Ponder.

Frazier told reporters Monday that he would announce his decision on Wednesday. But reports indicate that Ponder has already been told he will make his first career start when the Vikings host the Packers at Mall of America Field.

After Monday's press conference at Winter Park during which Frazier said he would assess the situation, one big question remained: Was there any reason not to start Ponder this week? Truthfully, it was hard to find a risk-reward scenario that didn’t lead to Ponder replacing Donovan McNabb atop the depth chart.

As quarterback controversies go, this one seems clear-cut. For a Vikings squad whose 2011 season is going down in flames, the chance to develop a promising young quarterback far outweighs the value of scratching out an extra two or three wins with an aging veteran whose contract will expire at season’s end.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that Ponder will start at some point this season. So why delay the inevitable?

Ponder saw his first regular-season action in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 39-10 loss at Chicago. He was 9-for-17 for 99 yards in the loss.

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