COMMENTARY | It isn't often that a lack of injuries is big news in the NFL, although few teams in recent memory have had the three-ring quarterbacking circus currently facing the Minnesota Vikings. All four Vikings who missed the Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers--tight end Rhett Ellison, defensive backs Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford, along with quarterback Christian Ponder--were on the practice field Monday.
While the return of Sanford and Cook will definitely help a shaky Minnesota secondary, naturally all of the attention was focused on Ponder and what his return would mean for the Vikings. Those hoping for an answer from Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier will have to look elsewhere, as Frazier was his typical non-committal self, saying only that the newly acquired Josh Freeman would not start.
The logical choice would appear to be for the Vikings to start Matt Cassel, who led them to their only victory of the season and has the support of several key members of the team, such as Adrian Peterson, but the Vikings brass could very well have something brewing behind the scenes.
Minnesota may want to show the rest of the league that Ponder is healthy if they believe they can get a mid-round draft pick for him. Both Jacksonville and Tampa Bay could use help at the quarterback position and Ponder's finest moments occurred in the Sunshine State when he was quarterbacking the Florida State Seminoles.
The Vikings may also want to start Ponder in the belief that it is more likely Freeman will be asked to enter the game in relief, as opposed to having the more experienced Cassel start.
It would be nice to believe that Minnesota is holding off on naming a starter to make it more difficult for the Carolina Panthers to prepare for Sunday's game, but it's just as likely that the Vikings truly don't know what they are going to do just yet. If they do, they certainly aren't telling.
Allen Moody is an author and sports bettor living in Nevada. A newspaper sports reporter for 12 years, he has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the 1970s.
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- Jamarca Sanford