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Vikings turn to rookie Ponder as starting QB after 1-5 start

Christian Ponder now is the Minnesota Vikings' No. 1 quarterback, a league source said Tuesday afternoon, and will make his starting debut this weekend at home against the Green Bay Packers.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made the decision this week and has notified Donovan McNabb, whom the coach hand-picked to come in and try to help Minnesota avoid a rebuilding year. But the 34-year-old veteran has struggled to find consistency in a new offensive system and ranks 29th in the NFL in touchdown passes (four), 26th in passing yards (1,026) and 19th in completion percentage (60.3).

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The sports agency that represents Ponder tweeted Tuesday night its congratulations to its client, whom the Vikings drafted out of Florida State with the No. 12 overall pick in April.

"Congrats to #Vikings client @cponder7 for earning the start for next week's game," SportsTrust Advisors posted to its account.

A Vikings spokesman told The Associated Press that the team wouldn't comment until Wednesday, when Frazier previously had said he would make an announcement. Players were off Tuesday, so McNabb and Ponder weren't available for comment.

Ponder relieved McNabb in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's 39-10 loss to the Chicago Bears and went 9-of-17 passing for 99 yards.

"For a guy who gets limited reps in practice, it seems he had a good grasp, like we thought he would, of our offense," Frazier said Monday, one day after the loss dropped Minnesota to 1-5.

For the first five weeks of the season, Frazier steadfastly stood behind McNabb, defending him amid all the criticism from fans and media. But Frazier backed off of that Monday.

"The only qualifier is what's best for our team, and that will be the criteria we use when we sit down and continue these discussions over the next couple days," said the coach, who has a close relationship with McNabb dating to their days together in Philadelphia.

Now it's Ponder's job. Frazier said Monday that he wasn't interested in rotating quarterbacks in and out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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