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Christian Ponder excited for chance to start for Vikings

Christian Ponder will get a chance to show he's a born-again quarterback.

The former Minnesota Vikings starter, benched in favor of Josh Freeman, explained to reporters that he's only been told he'll start for this game, according to ESPN.com.

"Apparently I was on a short leash before and I didn't know it," Ponder said.

It was an edgier Ponder speaking to the media after the news dropped that Freeman suffered a concussion and is most likely out for Sunday night's tussle with the Green Bay Packers.

"I want to be on the field, and this is my opportunity to get back out there again," Ponder said, per the Minnesota Star Tribune. "I think it was good for me to kind of take a step back for a couple weeks and take a deep breath and learn from those first three games and get out there and play better. I'm excited for this opportunity. What a great way to come back out against the Packers at home. It'll be fun."

Ponder's quarterback play earlier this season was far from starting-caliber. He continually missed throws, his decision-making was terrible and he often committed the bone-headed turnover.

The third-year NFL quarterback admitted he pressed a lot this season, but said he's more relaxed now that he knows there's essentially nothing to lose.

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"It couldn't get any worse than that," Ponder said of being benched. "That's probably fair to say. I think I was playing with a lot of pressure on myself before and never felt in sync. Now is the opportunity to take that deep breath and go out and have fun again. I already got benched, so it can't get worse than that."

An honest, feisty Ponder is a better Ponder. But, to steal his words, it couldn't have gotten much worse.

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