Vikings: Ponder, Cook, Sanford practice

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- All four players who missed the Minnesota Vikings' Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- quarterback Christian Ponder, defensive backs Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford and tight end Rhett Ellison -- practiced on Monday as the Vikings returned from their bye week.

That would seem to suggest all four are on the path toward playing Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, but in the case of Ponder, things might not be quite so clear.

Coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder is "still our starter, if he's healthy" after Ponder sat out the Steelers game with a broken rib, and Ponder said he felt fine throwing on Monday afternoon. Matt Cassel led the Vikings to their first win of the season in relief of Ponder on Sept. 29, though, and won positive reviews from numerous Vikings players, including Greg Jennings and Adrian Peterson.

Frazier said either Ponder or Cassel -- not new acquisition Josh Freeman -- will start on Sunday, and the Vikings' decision for this week will depend largely on how Ponder looks.

"We're going to see how Christian does on Wednesday. But between he and Matt, they'll be the guys that are starting the game. We're not going to try and get Josh up and going for this ballgame. We'll see where he is and we'll have an update later on."