Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
The Vikings' frequent shuffling at the quarterback position has made more sense some weeks than others, but many of us in the media assumed after Sunday's game -- where Christian Ponder followed five straight quarters of good play with two heinous interceptions in the second half -- that Ponder's latest turn as the starting quarterback was probably up after four consecutive games.
Well, the Vikings had other things in mind. And that's got a number of Twin Cities columnists scratching their heads today.
Take what Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com had to say: "The only thing that makes sense at this point is that whatever general manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier are attempting to do makes no sense. Who knows if they are even on the same page."
Or this, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Jim Souhan: "I can't think of a good reason for starting Ponder. Worse, the feeling in the Vikings' lockerroom is that starting Ponder is an embarrassment. Frazier has done much to build trust and respect in the Vikings' lockerroom. He's sabotaging his credibility by starting Ponder when everyone knows Ponder's career is effectively over in Minnesota."
It's certainly possible not everyone in the Vikings' decision-making loop is in agreement here. That was a popular working theory after the team signed Freeman, until both Frazier and Spielman said the coach had the autonomy to pick the starting quarterback without the approval of the general manager and Spielman added the Vikings didn't need to see Freeman play to evaluate him. But the bigger concern, in my mind, with playing Ponder is losing the confidence of the locker room while implying that Freeman hasn't done enough to get on the field no matter what Ponder is doing. One of those ramifications hurts Frazier, while the other looks bad for Spielman. Running back Adrian Peterson backed both Ponder and Frazier in an interview this week, but it's difficult to know if that opinion is the consensus among his teammates. And let's say Freeman does get on the field and show the Vikings enough that they wanted to think about re-signing him after the season. From what point will those contract negotiations start?
At least a 2-8 team continues to be interesting ...
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
We took a bit of a lighthearted look at Josh Freeman's irreverent Wednesday interview as we tried to figure out what the quarterback might be thinking at the moment.
Vikings linebacker Desmond Bishop, who stopped in at the Vikings' practice facility on Wednesday, is trying to get back and resume his NFL career, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Ponder vs. Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien stacks up with the worst QB matchups in the history of the Vikings-Packers rivalry, Michael Rand of the Star Tribune says.