Christian Ponder says he's healthy and disappointed...so, benched?
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - After 29 starts, the Christian Ponder era with the Minnesota Vikings seems to be grinding to a halt.
Ponder said after Thursday's practice he is healthy and has been cleared to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, but said coaches have told him who will start on Sunday and, well, he didn't say it was him.
"Some of the dynamics of this organization have changed obviously with brining in Josh [Freeman]," Ponder said. "I would be lying if I didn't say it was a little bit disappointing and frustrating."
Ponder, 25, suffered a rib injury in a Sept. 22 loss to the Cleveland Browns that sent his all-important third year spiraling into an 0-3 start. The injury forced him to the sidelines over in London, where backup Matt Cassel led the team to its first victory.
Matters would've been complicated enough with players publically supporting Cassel, but general manager Rick Spielman added another starting-caliber quarterback in Josh Freeman over the bye week. Frazier said Freeman will likely be inactive on Sunday, leaving Ponder to be the backup behind Cassel.
Ponder defended his own situation by expressing surprise in the Freeman signing.
"Again, I have no idea what is going to happen. I hope to still be here," Ponder said. "That's the front office's call. You never know, as we've seen in the past week, what's going to happen."
Spielman stayed diplomatic when announcing the Freeman signing when he said Ponder's evaluation will be ongoing. But Ponder seemed to be grasping for positives in his situation.
"Just in our talks, [Frazier and Spielman] are still supportive, which is good. They brought in another quarterback, but you know, they're still supportive," Ponder said. "In the past few years, you figure out where your confidence needs to lie in and sometimes it's not on the football field. There's more important things and when that happens, it's funny how your confidence on the field works out."
Frazier wouldn't name a starter, even though Ponder said he's already been informed of that decision.
Frazier had told media members on Monday that Ponder is the starter 'if he's healthy,' but now that word is out of Ponder's health, he still won't say Ponder is likely benched.
"It's not an open competition, but I just want to make sure we're doing the right thing," Frazier said. "We'll go through practice tomorrow and see where those guys are."
Ponder has a cap of around $2.8 million this year on his rookie deal that goes through 2014.
The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29.
"A trade would be difficult to deal with," Ponder said.