Frazier says Ponder is the starter if healthy


Yes, Christian Ponder remains the starting quarterback of the Vikings.  But with one caveat.  He has to be healthy.

On Tuesday, coach Leslie Frazier told reporters that Ponder is the starter if healthy, and that Ponder is still injured.

With Ponder, as we’ve reported, week-to-week due to a rib fracture, the Vikings will be able to give Matt Cassel more opportunities until Ponder heals.  If Cassel is still playing well — and drawing praise from teammates — after he fully heals, the Vikings will have to cross that bridge, perhaps treading lightly.

After the post-London bye, the Vikings host the Panthers before facing the Giants in New York (OK, New Jersey) on Monday Night Football.  If Cassel manages wins in both games, he could be in line to continue his hot streak against the Packers the following Sunday night, on NBC.

Then, if/when Cassel stumbles, Ponder will be re-inserted, if he’s healthy.

It’s not the first time a quarterback will have lost his job due to injury.  Alex Smith suffered a concussion last year, and Colin Kaepernick seized the opportunity to become the 49ers’ starting quarterback.  Fifteen years ago, the Vikings applied the “100 percent rule” to quarterback Brad Johnson in order to justify keeping Randall Cunningham under center.  (And if the Vikings would have flipped back to Johnson during the 1998 NFC title game, the Vikings may have made it to the Super Bowl that year.)

Frazier’s job is to win games.  Cassel just won a game.  Ponder was 0-3.  As long as Cassel keeps winning, it will be hard to justify taking the ball out of his hands, regardless of the specific words used to justify his ongoing role.

73 responses to “Frazier says Ponder is the starter if healthy

  1. And in his next breath, Frazier stated “we don’t expect Christian to be fully healthy the rest of the year”.

  2. (And if the Vikings would have flipped back to Johnson during the 1998 NFC title game, the Vikings may have made it to the Super Bowl that year.)


  3. Hard to believe anything the media puts out there but from what I have read, the players even want Cassel to be the starter.

    I have to concur. Just the fact that the ball got to the receivers in stride vs. floating to them and them having to slow down or reach behind them has got to be a good enough reason to keep Cassel in there.

    Lie and say he isn’t 100% if you want but don’t just go back to Ponder just because you think you have to. Winning is important not saving face.

  4. Sounds fine with me because if Ponder can’t perform good against mediocre teams than it becomes obvious we need to find a new QB. I am not a fan of Ponders passing with the way musgrave wants to use him to pass 10 yards.

  5. Teams need to quit telling themselves that they have to play a QB solely because they used a first round pick on him. You need to put in the QB that gives you the best chance to win. Period.

  6. Vikings can kiss the Number one pick in the draft goodbye..

    The Steelers are in the lead at the quarter turn.

  7. For the love of God — stop this charade already!

    Leslie, we all know you’re a joke of a head coach, and that you’ll be gone by the end of the season — but please, do the right thing and name Cassel the starter already. Do what a head coach *should do*, and put your team in the best position to win.

    You’ve already seen what happens when a competent quarterback plays for your team — the receivers are happy and play better, you can move the ball down-field, and you open up the field for AP.

    Only in Minnesota does the obvious require a painful debate as to not hurt the egos of others.

    Ponder, and Frazier for that matter, will get boo’ed off the field in the home Carolina game if Ponder starts. Unbelievable.

  8. This is unbelievable. I can’t believe that AP Jennings Simpson and the entire OL wouldn’t say something to coach to open his eyes!
    If this happens I’m throwing in the white flag and not watching this team the remainder of the year!!!!!!!!!

  9. 15 years ago? You mean when the Vikings fielded the highest scoring offense up to that time? Yeah, sitting Cunningham would’ve worked.

  10. Ponder has no arm whatsoever. Floats every pass he throws down field. Cassel has a much better arm and can sling throws across the middle, something Ponder hasn’t been able to do his whole career. The offense was noticeably more explosive with Cassel in and opened up the run game, finally.

    Start Cassel unless you want to lose your job Frazier.

  11. fc187 says:
    Oct 1, 2013 2:33 PM
    Vikings can kiss the Number one pick in the draft goodbye..

    The Steelers are in the lead at the quarter turn.
    I think the Jaguars will LEAD this race all season, Sir.

  12. Minnesota sports trolling so hard right now. First we get Gardy extension, and now this fool has the nerve to reiterate his manboylove for Ponder. He’s either delusional or dumb. Either way should not be an NFL coach.

  13. ajschn06 says:
    Oct 1, 2013 2:27 PM
    (And if the Vikings would have flipped back to Johnson during the 1998 NFC title game, the Vikings may have made it to the Super Bowl that year.)



    I don’t know if you could go so far as to say they would have made it with Johnson, but I have it on very good authority that when Denny called to take a knee at the end of the first quarter, 10 people in the huddle wanted to just not listen to the head coach.

    Unfortunately, the one that refused to go against Denny was Cunningham. So in that regard, Johnson may have been the better play…

  14. Johnson over Cunningham in 1998? If you look at Randy’s first career TD thrown by Johnson…it’s so poorly under thrown that Moss must make a juggling act in order to make the catch. Cunningham made Moss go get it.

  15. The Vikings want to try to grind it out with Ponder, because they don’t want to admit they botched that top 15 pick a few years ago.

    They know they reached, they know it was awful. I just don’t think they are ready to give in because they are being stubborn.

  16. They are scoring enough points to win. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, how good the OL is, whether or not they fire Musgrave – until they fix the defense (linebackers and secondary), they have no chance of winning.

  17. We’ll find out next week who starts the next game. That said, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings returning to Ponder after the offensive performance last Sunday.

    Hopefully, Frazier will make the right decision.

  18. They’ll be lucky to finish the year 6 – 10 no matter which guy starts. Start planning which QB to reach for next year Rick.

  19. Terrible move Mr. Frazier, tell Spielman to shove it, or Ziggy’s gonna take your job. You’re driving the lifetime fan away from the Vikings. Of all the crap we have put up with in the past, we’ve never had to endure a crappy QB this long. If you keep playing Ponder then trade AP, let go somewhere he has a chance.

  20. fc187 says: Oct 1, 2013 2:27 PM

    Who is to say that Ponder could not have been just as successful against the Steelers.

    Uh…me! I see at least 2 INTs and no downfield passes to Jennings or Simpson if he had played.

  21. I have been saying that Frazier is in over his head. Ponder is not going to take you anywhere. He doesnt have the IT factor.

    Cassel is no stud either but he really doesnt need to be one. Its really simple…defense crowds the box…you have man coverage. If they back off, run AP.

    The holes were there because Cassel was a “threat” to throw the intermediate and long routes. Something Ponder struggles with.

  22. Frazier was asked point blank if Ponder would start against Carolina if he is healthy and Frazier would not say yes. “We would have to look at some things” was the furthest he would go. No chance Ponder plays again until Cassel falls apart. Good times.

  23. If there is anyone who believes frazier wants to start ponder, youre an idiot. This is all rick spielman. He wants his boy ponder.

  24. There’s nothing wrong with sitting a quarterback who isn’t playing well, let him watch from the sidelines for a week or two or three, and then give him another try. That’s been done many time with good results. I remember Culpepper being benched for one game in favor of Todd Bouman. Bouman played well, but Culpepper came back the next week and was much better.

  25. I want the Vikings to have a true franchise QB for just ONCE in my life. The only semblence we’ve ever had of that is Culpepper, and that crashed & burned in Carolina with a torn ACL in ’05.

    However, it appears neither Cassel nor Ponder is a true “franchise” QB. And it’s not like they come around every year either, so here’s to making the best of what’s around….

  26. No healthy player ever lost his job due to a previous injury. Players lose their jobs when someone else performs better – the injury just provides an opportunity for comparison.

  27. Vikings will have a chance in the first round to pick a QB….fairly good group coming out in ’14.

  28. You guys creating screen names to try and emulate me: Thanks! I’m flattered!

    Beyond that, I’m betting you guys don’t want my pity, but it’s being offered none the less.

  29. It doesn’t matter who starts. Both are and always were better than “MVP” Rodgers. The Packers are in for major deckings against the Lions and King Vikings!

  30. tokyosandblaster says: Oct 1, 2013 5:00 PM

    You guys creating screen names to try and emulate me: Thanks! I’m flattered!

    Beyond that, I’m betting you guys don’t want my pity, but it’s being offered none the less.


    Well since your teams win total is the same, you should save your pity for the Pack

  31. Lots of back up QB’s do well until opposing teams get about 3 games worth of film on them.

    Anyone remember Scott Mitchell?

    Cassell had a very similar trajectory.

    Let’s hope for the best -Skol!

  32. There’s only one comment needed after reading the majority of the posts left by the lavender Larry toads, SKOL MN endemic delusional disorder!

  33. If you watch the game (Steelers) on NFL shortcuts you’ll see this game was pretty much like the ones Ponder lost.

    Cassell got lucky with a couple plays that bounced Minnesota’s way, and he can put some zing on the ball, but the ball bounces the other way and we’re 0-4.

    A lot of it is on the coaches.
    What insurance was that field goal they missed?
    Two T.D.’s and we still lose.
    Could we play to win, not play to not lose – it’s like the prevent defense, it prevents you from winning.

  34. filthymcnasty1 says:
    Oct 1, 2013 5:47 PM
    The Vikings are still winless on American soil.
    hey tokyo, doesnt matter where the win happens as a win is still a win. Much like the seahawks win was win last year.

  35. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…..until the defense stops giving up 30+ points per game, who is under center is irrelevant.

  36. It’s like Vikings fans want below average journeyman QBs. You wonder why we have never had a franchise QB. Heck, we even hated Daunte. Nobody is ever good enough for this franchise. Ponder most likely is not the answer, but I wouldn’t put his % at 0 quite yet. I feel bad for the next QB drafted by us. He’ll be hated by the fans too, unless he turns out to be Peyton Manning straight out of the draft. God forbid our QB has a bad game or two in a row. That’s enough to throw away the potential future for a couple more wins in a meaningless season. Green Bay fans are definitely brain-washed, but at least my packer fan friends don’t have to deal with the most impulsive, fair weather fan base in the NFL.

  37. Culpepper wasn’t all that.

    What happened when he lost Carter and Moss?

    Rodgers elevates his receivers, can you say that about Culpepper?

    Also Culpepper had small hands (poor guy), he fumbled a lot, he didn’t read defense very well either.

    We’ve had one great QB we drafted and I’m glad I was around to see him play.

    How did we ever get him back from the Giants?

  38. Uhhhhh, last time I checked, the Vikes didn’t get to that Super Bowl for reasons other than QB play. And it wasn’t Gary Anderson either. Give up? How about taking a knee on 3 rd down for a 50/50 chance at a coin flip in OT?

  39. Why do teams make such absolute statements like this?

    Why not just say we’ll decide what’s best for the team at any given time?

    Give yourself some options and you’ll look less stupid moving forward. At least play Cassel until he loses a game.

  40. filthymcnasty1 says:
    Oct 1, 2013 5:47 PM
    The Vikings are still winless on American soil.

    And the Packers are without a win on the Moon….whats your point?

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