Ponder out, Webb in at QB for Vikings vs. Packers

Christian Ponder was out, and backup Joe Webb was in at

quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Ponder was inactive for Minnesota’s wild-card playoff game

against Green Bay on Saturday night because of a right elbow

injury, a pre-kickoff surprise that didn’t deter the Packers in a

24-10 victory over the Vikings.

Webb was 11 of 30 for 180 yards with a late 50-yard touchdown

pass to Michael Jenkins and an interception and added 68 yards

rushing in the loss.

Ponder was hurt when the teams played each other last Sunday,

when Packers safety Morgan Burnett delivered a jarring hit on a

blitz. Ponder finished the game with a career-high 120.2 passer

rating and three touchdowns in the 37-34 win.

But his participation in practice this week was limited and Webb

took many of the turns with the first-team offense. Ponder was

listed as questionable on the injury report, and took only about a

dozen soft, short throws in early warm-ups.

After the game, Ponder said his injury was more in the triceps

muscle, describing the problem as a deep bruise.

”The biggest thing is the loss of flexibility. I couldn’t get

the ball in the position to where I could throw it normally and

lost a lot of power and everything. It wouldn’t have been wise to

play,” he said.

Webb was on the field getting loose for about an hour, well

before the team gathered for drills. He was even playing around and

kicking field goals with third-stringer McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who

was on the active list for the first time this season.

This was Webb’s first start of the season. He appeared in one

game this year, for a kneel-down and a couple of handoffs at the

end of a blowout win over Tennessee. He had three starts over his

first two NFL seasons, the first coming at Philadelphia on Dec. 28,

2010. The Vikings beat the playoff-bound Eagles that night 24-14,

and Webb passed for 195 yards and ran for a touchdown.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound sixth-round draft pick from

Alabama-Birmingham is athletic enough to play wide receiver, where

he made one start in 2011 for the Vikings and played a whole season

as a sophomore.

Ponder had some problems with swelling and tightness in his

throwing elbow at Florida State. He twice had fluid drained from

the elbow joint during his senior year.

Also inactive for the Vikings were wide receiver Stephen Burton,

cornerback Brandon Burton, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, offensive

lineman Troy Kropog, defensive end George Johnson and defensive end

D’Aundre Reed.

Defensive end Brian Robison (sprained right shoulder) and

cornerback Antoine Winfield (broken right hand) were both active

and in the starting lineup.

For the Packers, wide receiver Donald Driver was a healthy

scratch.

Green Bay’s other inactives were wide receiver Jarrett Boykin;

cornerback Davon House; running back James Starks; linebacker Frank

Zombo; defensive tackle Jordan Miller; and defensive end Jerel

Worthy, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Worthy was hurt at Minnesota last week.

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