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Minnesota Vikings don't pick up Ponder's option

The Minnesota Vikings are ready to move on from the wayward Christian Ponder Experiment.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the team has declined to pick up the quarterback's fifth-year option, all but setting Ponder free to test the open market after the 2014 campaign.

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Minnesota's decision comes as no surprise. The Vikings weren't about to pay Ponder $9.6 million when it's no guarantee he even makes the team this season.

It's clear the front office favors Matt Cassell, leading Ponder to tell The Star Tribune this week: "I think the expectation is that (Cassel is) going to be a starter. But for me, I'm competing for the job."

With Vikings looming as a strong bet to draft a rookie passer in next week's draft, Ponder -- the 12th overall pick in 2011 -- could enter camp as far down as third on the depth chart.

Releasing Ponder would cost the Vikings $3.2 million, which won't stop the team from parting ways with a signal-caller who won just two games in nine starts in 2013. While he recorded the highest completion percentage of his young career (63.6), Ponder has yet to evolve into a quarterback who can move the offense on a consistent basis.

He's not a type fit for Norv Turner's pass-heavy attack, and we wouldn't be stunned to see Ponder in a new uniform come September.

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