The handwriting appears to be on the wall for Christian Ponder.
All signs point to Matt Cassel starting Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. And beyond that, it appears that newly signed Josh Freeman will get a chance at some point to prove his worth.
So whither Ponder, the team's 2011 first-round pick who already appears to be on the outside looking in? For Ponder, who spoke to the local media on Thursday, it was hard to hide his emotions on the situation.
Ponder tried hard to put on brave face with media but his demeanor said it all. He knows it's over in Minnesota
— Brian Murphy (@murphPPress) October 10, 2013
But is he also in denial about it? Ponder told the media he split reps with Cassel, while Freeman gets introduced to the system this week, although that doesn't appear to be the case.
Matt Cassel took most, if not all, of the practice reps at quarterback with the #Vikings starting offense Thursday, according to a source.
— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) October 10, 2013
It's always tough to see a high-profile player — he was the 12th player taken in the draft, lest you forgot — in a situation like that. The presence of Freeman is what's causing this situation, and Ponder could stand to learn from what brought Freeman to Minnesota in the first place. He at least was to blame for missing meetings and not falling in line with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, no matter what you think of how that team handled the situation.
Ponder can help his cause (or at least not hurt his cause) to land in a favorable situation a year from now by being the best Vikings teammate he possibly can these next few months, even if he is the third quarterback most of that time. The Vikings might have made the right move changing quarterbacks, but the last thing that Ponder is anything to hurt his shaky stock at all. His playing has caused that, but avoiding any kind of trouble from here on out can help him get his next job.
He appears to be doing the best job he can, considering the circumstances.