Christian Ponder to wear harness on shoulder, expects start on Sunday
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - In the days following the dislocation to his shoulder, Christian Ponder was pessimistic regarding his recovery process and his ability to start his fourth straight game - the most of any Minnesota Vikings quarterback this season.
Behind a 'mini-bye' week in which the Vikings have 10 days to prepare for Sunday's matchup at the Seattle Seahawks, Ponder said Thursday he's made a quick turnaround, surprising even himself.
"I woke up Monday and Tuesday and I kept feeling better and better," Ponder said. "So I threw it around a lot more than I expected to [Wednesday]."
Ponder was limited at practice, but continues to take first-team reps. The ultimate decision is left up to coach Leslie Frazier, but Ponder seemed confident he'll start on Sunday after a 1-5 record in six starts this season.
Playing with a recently dislocated shoulder would be tough enough, but Ponder will try to avoid any painful hits from one of the more physical defenses in the league.
The Seahawks' third-ranked defense is second in the NFL in stopping the pass as they allow only 178 yards per game through the air. They're also one of five teams in the league that have grabbed more interceptions (13) than passing touchdowns allowed (10).
"Obviously, I'm going to get hit at some point. Hopefully not. But we'll see how it ends up feeling," Ponder said. "But I'm sure it will be a little painful and I don't know, hopefully the Seahawks don't have a target on it."
No matter how you spin it, Ponder would be fighting an uphill battle against the Seahawks secondary even with two healthy shoulders. He's currently tied with five other quarterbacks for 30th in the NFL in touchdown passes (5) and only the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have fewer receiving touchdowns than the Vikings' eight.
The Seahawks secondary, self-named the 'Legion of Boom,' will be without cornerback Brandon Browner to a groin injury.
Ponder intends to wear a harness for stability on his shoulder, but does not expect to wear any additional padding on Sunday.
"Continuity is what I'm hoping for. Obviously, I want to be the one out there playing and starting," Ponder said. "I'm going to keep playing and try to play as well as I can, so I can be out there for the rest of the season."