Frazier: Ponder 'our starting QB'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings haven't stripped quarterback Christian Ponder of his position atop the depth chart. At least not yet, anyway.

That was the upshot of coach Leslie Frazier's noncommittal comments to reporters Tuesday, two days after backup Matt Cassel led the team to its first victory of the season.

Frazier said that Ponder is "still our starting quarterback" but wouldn't commit to starting him Oct. 13 against the Carolina Panthers, even if his fractured rib is healed by then.

"It's hard to be concrete when you know that Christian is dealing with an injury," Frazier said. "So we'll see what happens."

The vagueness of Frazier's comments Tuesday was understandable when considering the magnitude of the situation. Promoting Cassel to the permanent starter's role would likely signal the end of Ponder's career in Minnesota, less than three years after the Vikings made him the 12th overall pick in the draft.

As long as Ponder is injured, there really isn't a reason for Frazier to commit to Cassel. The coach is keeping his options open until a commitment is necessary.

"We'll talk about a lot of things, but it's more than one ballgame," he said. "He did a good job. I don't want to take anything away from what Matt did. We'll do what is best for our team.

"If we thought Matt gave us the best chance to beat Carolina, then we would approach that situation as well. But if Christian is healthy, then we'll take a look at what we need to do."

Neither Ponder nor Cassel were immediately available for comment. The Vikings have a bye Sunday and Frazier gave the players the week off. The team will re-convene for practice Monday.