EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman has cleared part of the NFL's concussion protocol, and could practice on Friday, but will be inactive on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, coach Leslie Frazier said.
That means Christian Ponder officially will start on Sunday for the Vikings. Minnesota has been preparing for Ponder to start, but there was still a chance Freeman could regain the starting role if he was cleared for contact in time.
However, with Freeman out, Ponder will get his starting job back a month after he lost it due to a rib injury.
He had arguably the best game of his career last December against the Packers, throwing three touchdown passes in a 37-34 Vikings win that sent Minnesota to the playoffs.
Sunday night could be Ponder's last chance to make a permanent claim to the starting job, with the Vikings wanting to see someone emerge from their derby of Ponder, Freeman and Matt Cassel.
Freeman, who signed a one-year deal with the Vikings on Oct. 7, believed he got hurt in the third quarter of Monday's 23-7 lost to the New York Giants. He finished the game, but complained on Tuesday of concussion symptoms, and began testing in the NFL's concussion program after that.