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Updated: January 3rd, 2013 1:44pm
Christian Ponder will 'do everything he can' to play with sore elbow

Christian Ponder will 'do everything he can' to play with sore elbow

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier did something unusual after the Vikings' last practice before Saturday's wild-card playoff at Green Bay.

He had a brief chat on the field with backup quarterbacks Joe Webb and McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who have combined to play exactly three snaps all season.

But Frazier continued to express optimism publicly about starter Christian Ponder's chances for playing through a bruised throwing elbow that has limited him in practice all week.

"It's a little bit tight for him," Frazier said. "Just got to loosen up a little bit. They're still doing some things with him. We'll see how he feels (Friday). But he's going to do everything he can to, of course, be ready for this ballgame."

Ponder grabbed the elbow after it collided with the helmet of blitzing Packers safety Morgan Burnett in the second quarter of the Vikings' win on Sunday.

He stayed in the game and turned in one of his best performances of the season, completing 16 of 28 passes for 234 yards, three touchdowns and a 120.2 rating.

The Vikings have been cautious with Ponder this week, though.

"I think he'll be all right," Frazier said. "He's going to do everything he can to make sure he's ready to go. He's doing a lot more stuff mentally than physical right now. But he should be fine."

Ponder hasn't spoken to reporters since Tuesday, when he was in good spirits and downplayed the injury.

"It's good. It's fine," Ponder said. "It's -- whatever. It's something that will be fine and get it ready to go."

A sixth-round draft pick out of UAB in 2010, Webb has 17 NFL appearances, including three starts. But his only action this season came in garbage time against Tennessee on Oct. 7.

Bethel-Thompson, an undrafted free agent in 2011 who has had stints in multiple minor leagues, beat out Sage Rosenfels for the No. 3 job in training camp. He has been inactive for all 16 games.

The Vikings don't have to designate players' status (probable, questionable, etc.) until after Friday's walkthrough.

In other injury news, cornerback Antoine Winfield (hand) sat out practice again but did work on the side with a new cast and should be available on Saturday.

Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie (shoulder), a core special teamer, continues to wear a swing and probably won't play on Saturday, Frazier said.

Halfback Adrian Peterson returned on a limited basis after sitting out practice on Tuesday and Wednesday to rest his sore abdomen, which he said is no concern.

"He moved around very well," Frazier said. "So, that was good to see."

Safety Harrison Smith (knee) also got limited work for a second straight day. He said neither the knee nor the shoulder stinger he suffered while making a second-half tackle should be an issue.

End Brian Robison (shoulder) was limited as well. End Jared Allen (shoulder), cornerback A.J. Jeferson (ankle), end George Johnson (quadriceps), punter Chris Kluwe (left knee) and right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) were full participants.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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