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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Frazier: Ponder & Co. will play into the 2nd quarter against Buffalo

MANKATO, Minn. — Opinions clashed as soon as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder sat on the bench with less than one minute played in Friday’s preseason loss to the Houston Texans — some claiming Ponder should only play one series, others opining that the young quarterback needs the reps.

Coach Leslie Frazier made it clear in the postgame press conference that his starters were only going to play one series, no matter the amount of snaps.

For Friday’s preseason game at the Buffalo Bills, Frazier said the starters will get much more playing time than the two reps they received before Ponder’s second pass tipped off receiver Jerome Simpson’s fingers and into the Texans secondary.

“We’re probably going to play into that second quarter,” Frazier said. “That’s the goal. We have a number of snaps we’re going to talk about later in the week. They do anticipate having to go into the second quarter, based on the amount of snaps.”

Frazier’s messaged seemed clear to his players before the team took the field Friday, but as 1500ESPN columnist Judd Zulgad pointed out in this recent column — Ponder played the least of any starting quarterback to suit up for opening weekend of the preseason.

“We pretty much knew we were done,” Simpson said after Sunday’s walkthrough. “Our coaches wanted to evaluate some other guys. Of course we wanted to stay in there longer, but we had to go with what the coaches said.”

Backup quarterback Matt Cassel took the reins for the final five series of Friday’s first half, allowing rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to flourish with Simpson and fellow starting receiver Greg Jennings on the bench.

Two throws and an interception can’t be much of a boost to Ponder’s confidence, but Simpson said it wasn’t all on the young quarterback.

“Going by film, one of the linebackers came free and kind of made Christian [Ponder] have to throw the ball a little bit farther out in front,” Simpson said. “I couldn’t really grasp my hands around it, only thing I could try and do is reach out and get my fingertips on it. Wish I could’ve knocked it down for him to prevent the interception.”


by Andrew Krammer

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