Christian Ponder limited in practice but 'sore' knee shows improvement
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was optimistic about the status of Christian Ponder's right knee Thursday, saying the quarterback had no problems moving around and had a good practice.
It sounds as if that wasn't the case on Wednesday when Ponder was limited in practice after injuring the knee Sunday in the Vikings' 20-13 victory at Detroit. Ponder was wearing a wrap on the knee Wednesday.
"It didn't bother him very much on Monday, but it was really sore Wednesday," Frazier said. "It was much better today. He didn't have any inhibitions today. He was fine."
Asked if the injury affected Ponder's mobility, Frazier said: "Not anymore. He was a little sore (Wednesday), but had no problems today."
Ponder was listed as limited on the injury report Thursday. The Vikings will play host to Tennessee on Sunday.
Jared Allen (groin) did not take part in practice for the second consecutive day, but Frazier said hw hopes the defensive end can return on Friday.
"I think he'll be fine for Sunday," Frazier said. "We just want to make sure we're a little bit cautious because he's a little bit sore. He'll get some work (Friday)."
Linebacker Erin Henderson, who has missed the past two games because of a concussion, was able to finish practice on Thursday and went through all drills.
"We're optimistic about him playing in this ballgame and we'll see how he does (Friday)," Frazier said. "The fact he was able to go through the entire practice, that's a good sign."
When Henderson does return it will be in a limited role.
Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley played well enough in the nickel defense the past two games that he will remains on the field, along with linebacker Chad Greenway, when a fifth defensive back comes in on passing downs.
That means Henderson will be used only in the base defense. Brinkley had exited games in nickel situations before Henderson was injured.
"We're going to let Jasper stay in that role for now, and let Erin continue to work his way back," Frazier said. "We'll make a decision down the road if he's going to end up being back in that position."
Marvin Mitchell had replaced Henderson at weak-side linebacker in the base defense in victories over San Francisco and Detroit, but he might miss Sunday's game after injuring his calf on Thursday during special-teams drills. The team sent Mitchell to get an MRI.
Wide receiver Michael Jenkins (rib) was able to do work on a limited basis on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice.
Safeties Mistral Raymond (ankle) and Andrew Sendejo (ankle) did not practice for the second day in a row. Limited for the Vikings were guard Charlie Johnson (lower back), cornerbacks Marcus Sherels (quadriceps) and Antoine Winfield (knee).
Meanwhile, five players did not practice for the Titans because of injury, including linebacker Patrick Bailey (hand), wide receiver Kenny Britt (ankle), quarterback Jake Locker (left shoulder), defensive end Scott Solomon (hamstring) and linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle).
Left guard Steve Hutchinson, a former Viking, missed practice but that came as no surprise. Hutchinson, in his 12th season, is often given the Thursday practice off.
Tight end Jared Cook (shoulder) was limited.
It already has been announced that veteran Matt Hasselbeck will start in place of Locker at quarterback against the Vikings.