The Vikings announced Friday morning that backup quarterback Matt Cassel will be the starting quarterback for the Vikings game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Christian Ponder said on Wednesday that he injured his ribs in the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Brown last Sunday.
Ponder said the fracture is near his heart, and doctors are concerned about him being hit.
Ponder did not practice in London Friday morning. Both the Vikings and the Steelers are looking for a win this week as both teams are 0-3.
Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier told reporters on Friday that Ponder has a fractured rib and he feels it is too risky to play him against the Steelers. Frazier has said that Ponder has made progress throughout the week, but as of right now there is no timetable for his return.
Ponder took the majority of first-team snaps on Thursday, and Frazier insisted the team wanted Ponder to play.
Cassel signed a two-year contract in the offseason. He started 62 games over a nine-year career. The most notable is when he helped the New England Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008 after Tom Brady injured his knee in the season opener. Cassel went to the Pro Bowl in 2010 after a 27-touchdown season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but has been flat the last two seasons.
Ponder’s play has been disappointing in his third season, angering many fans who have called for Ponder to be benched or fired. Now many have wondered if this is a convenient excuse to switch out Ponder for Cassel, but Frazier insists that this is not the case and he expects Ponder to return when healthy.
Of course, if Cassel can get a fire going for the Vikings, Coach Frazier might have to reconsider bringing Ponder back.