I won't try to guess where Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will land this week on the debate about his quarterback position. Frazier told reporters Monday that he will spend the next two days evaluating Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder before announcing a starter Wednesday for this weekend's game against the Green Bay Packers.
You would be within your right to question whether it should take so long to evaluate McNabb or any other incumbent. The delay in a final decision might suggest to you that Ponder is in line for his first NFL start, and that Frazier is buying public time before discussing it with both men. But that's all we can say for sure. Frazier has proved difficult to read on this issue in the past.
Frazier said his only criteria will be identifying which quarterback gives the Vikings the best chance to beat the Packers, going out of his way to note that "2012 is not on the radar." But when your veteran starter has started 1-5, and the rookie backup looked relatively comfortable in his first relief appearance, it's quite possible that Ponder could best serve both timetables -- now and in the future.
We'll close the book on the McNabb era when and if it comes to that. The only way it can be viewed as less than a failure is if it prevented Ponder from a damaging early stretch of games before he was ready to play in them. We'll of course never know the answer to that, but otherwise the Vikings won't have received much in return for delaying Ponder's ascension.