GREEN BAY, Wis. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is inactive for Saturday night’s playoff game in Green Bay, unable to get over the sore right elbow he hurt in last week’s regular-season finale against the Packers.
Joe Webb will start for Minnesota. NBC first reported the news on its broadcast of Saturday’s earlier playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans.
Ponder was limited all week with what coach Leslie Frazier called a bruised elbow. A report on 1500espn.com said Ponder is dealing with bursitis in his throwing elbow.
Ponder warmed up about three hours before the game in front of head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and general manager Rick Spielman, attempting just a few passes before going back inside as Webb and third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson continued to warm up.
Frazier didn’t sound too concerned earlier in the week about the practice limitations on Ponder, but concern likely increased as Ponder couldn’t recover in time for Saturday’s game with a short week of preparation. Frazier said Ponder’s elbow was a “little bit tight” on Thursday and the team was resting him throughout the week to allow time to “let that elbow calm down a little bit.”
“I think he’ll be alright,” Frazier said after Thursday’s practice. “I think he’ll do everything he can to make sure he’s ready to go. He’s done a lot more stuff mental than physical right now, but should be fine.”
Ponder, finishing off his first full season as the Vikings’ starter in his second year out of Florida State, attempted every regular-season pass for Minnesota. He had an 81.2 quarterback rating and 62.1 percent completion rate and threw for 2,935 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Last week in Minnesota, Ponder was 16-of-28 for 234 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers in helping the Vikings to a playoff-clinching 37-34 win.
Webb took just three regular-season snaps and didn’t attempt a pass this year. Webb’s last regular action came in relief of Ponder in the 2011 regular season finale. Webb, a third-year player out of Alabama-Birmingham, was 17-of-32 for 200 yards and two interceptions in a loss to Chicago.