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.


Third quarter: Ponder benched as Vikings trail 31-21 entering 4th quarter

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Lions Updated: December 11, 2011 - 2:32 PM

Not only are the Vikings about to fall to 2-11 -- meaning they'll have to finish 2-1 to beat Les Steckel's 3-13 Boys of 1984 -- they've also benched rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.

Ponder exited with four turnovers, giving him 13 on the season. He threw three interceptions, and could have thrown six with better hands in the Lions secondary.

In his first series, backup QB Joe Webb ran 65 yards for a touchdown. That was the only points in the quarter. The Vikings trail 31-21 entering the fourth quarter.

Not sure how this helps Ponder become a better quarterback beyond this season, but the Vikings must really want win No. 3.

Defensively, safety Mistral Raymond was hurt late in the third quarter. He was replaced by Jarrad Page, who was signed off the street two weeks ago.

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