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NFL Roundup: Vikings' Ponder intends to start Sunday

The SportsXchange

Christian Ponder returned to Minnesota Vikings' practice in London on Thursday and is expected to start against the Pittsburgh Steelers with tender ribs.

The embattled quarterback, booed mightily in his home stadium in Minneapolis last week, split repetitions with backup Matt Cassel on Thursday.

Veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings did pay Ponder showed no noticeable affects from the rib injury he suffered Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns.

Ponder, Minnesota's first-round pick in 2011, and Cassel, an undrafted free agent who owned 62 career starts in eight seasons with the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs before signing as a backup with the Vikings, will find out who gets the start Friday.

---Veteran defensive back Antoine Winfield is willing to come out of retirement if he finds the right situation.

Winfield signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent. He was released in September, when Winfield said he was leaning toward retirement. But his agent did not file the official paperwork with the NFL, leaving the door open for his return.

Winfield could aid a Vikings secondary that is again running short on healthy cornerbacks. General manager Rick Spielman said Wednesday that he "can't rule anything out. You never know."

---Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor believes the hit that left him concussed Monday night warrants a fine, but the Oakland Raiders' first-year starter understands it comes with the territory as a running quarterback.

Pryor was cleared to practice Thursday but was on the sideline without a helmet while Matt Flynn worked with the first unit during the portion the media saw.

The Raiders found themselves defending their handling of the Pryor concussion when Fox Sports and ESPN said the NFLPA was looking into whether the Raiders followed the proper protocol because Pryor as on the field for two plays after being hit.

---Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson returned to practice Thursday, but his status for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks is still considered a game-time decision, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Johnson has a bruised shin. He did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday.

Offensive tackle Duane Brown, who missed Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens with a sprained toe, also returned to practice Thursday but was a limited participant. Brown hopes to play against Seattle.

---Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin missed practice for the second straight day Thursday because of a hamstring injury, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The team said earlier in the week that the injury was not serious but Austin might not play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. He has been slowed by hamstring injuries the past two seasons, so the team has been cautious with him.

Also, wide receiver Dwayne Harris has been unable to practice the past two days because of a hip injury.

---New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram denied a New Orleans Times-Picayune report that he wants the team to trade him.

"No. Never came from me," Ingram told ESPN.com Thursday. "I don't know who that came from. But I love New Orleans. It's home to me. I love this organization, love my teammates, love my coaches. I'm happy here. And we're 3-0. So I'm excited about that."

Saints coach Sean Payton said Sunday that the report was "completely false" and had "zero credibility."

---Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown was initially surprised by the trade sending Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick last week.

"But then I thought it was a brilliant move ... Because first of all, Trent couldn't have carried the kind of load that Cleveland needed," Brown told "Inside The NFL."
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