The fact that Matt Cassel will start for Minnesota on Sunday against the Steelers in London actually does nothing to settle the Vikings' unsettled QB situation. Sure, Christian Ponder's been terrible, tossing five INTs to two touchdowns and sitting in the third tertile of nearly every passing stat, but more immediately, he could die if he plays.
Ponder was hurt in the second quarter of the loss to the Browns, but stayed in to complete the game. A CT scan on Monday showed a fractured rib, and Ponder thought he could manage the pain, but the break is in a very delicate place.
"Throwing felt fine. The biggest risk was a health issue, the placement of the rib near my heart. So we made the decision based on what's best for me and my health and what's best for my team. It stinks."
This will be the 31-year-old Cassel's Vikings debut, after four spotty seasons in Kansas City. Ponder's fully guaranteed rookie contract runs through next year, though he only stands to make $1.76 million in 2014.