Vikings coach Leslie Frazier felt rookie quarterback Christian Ponder had made enough progress with a hip-pointer injury that he was fit to start against the Detroit Lions. But midway through the third quarter of Sunday's eventual 34-28 loss, Frazier changed his mind.
Ponder, who entered Sunday as a game-time decision to face the Lions, was pulled midway through the third quarter in favor of Joe Webb, who nearly led a fourth-quarter comeback. Webb led two second-half scoring drives, completing 12 of 23 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for a franchise-record 109 yards for a quarterback, including a 65-yard touchdown.
Ponder had a rough day, completing 11 of 20 passes for 115 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
âWe made a decision after the last interception that this wasnât the Christian we were used to seeing," Frazier said.
Frazier also made it clear there is no quarterback controversy in Minnesota.
"If Christian is healthy, heâs our No. 1 quarterback," he said.
Ponder didn't practice last week until Friday. Frazier said the coaching staff felt like Ponder would be able to protect himself and complete all of the throws necessary in the game plan after working out some on Saturday and again before the game.
"I don't like to use the injury as an excuse," Ponder told reporters. "I made great plays with the injury, I made bad plays with the injury. I'm not going to use that excuse. I didn't play very well."