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Ponder inactive against Packers

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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GREEN BAY, Wis.

The Minnesota Vikings are without starting quarterback Christian Ponder for Saturday night’s first-round playoff game at Green Bay.

Ponder was declared inactive because of an elbow injury. Third-year backup Joe Webb started in Ponder’s place.

McCleod Bethel-Thompson, who earned a roster spot in the preseason as an undrafted second-year player, will be the second-string quarterback.

Ponder was listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report. He hurt his elbow during last Sunday’s 37-34 home victory over the Packers.

Webb did take some snaps with the starting offense earlier this week during practice.

FOXSports.com NFL insider Jay Glazer reported that Vikings players spent much of Saturday afternoon wondering who would be under center. Ponder was briefly on the field throwing warm-up passes about three hours prior to kick-off before heading back to the locker room.

Ponder’s performance against Green Bay was among the best of his young career. He threw three touchdowns without an interception and completed four passes of 20-plus yards in a 16-of-28 outing.

Ponder was unspectacular through much of his second NFL season, especially on deep throws, as running back Adrian Peterson carried the Vikings’ offense. But during Minnesota’s four-game winning streak to end 2012, Ponder was efficient and committed only two turnovers.

Webb didn’t attempt a pass during the regular season. A 2010 sixth-round draft pick, Webb made three starts during his first two years with the Vikings. Webb was more impressive with his feet than his passing arm with a career average of 6.7 yards on his 41 carries.

Webb will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game without having attempted a pass during the regular season. He took three snaps in mop-up duty for Ponder in 2012.

Tagged: Vikings, Joe Webb, Christian Ponder

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