Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is listed as questionable for Saturday’s wild card playoff game at Green Bay.
Ponder suffered a bruise on his right (throwing) elbow last Sunday when he took a hit from Packers safety Morgan Burnett on a blitz on a play that saw Ponder’s pass deflected into the air before it was caught by receiver Jarius Wright. Ponder downplayed the injury earlier this week, but head coach Leslie Frazier was reserving judgment.
Ponder was limited for the third straight day of practice as Frazier attempted to get the elbow to “calm down a little bit.”
“I think he’s going to be alright. He’s going to do everything he can to be sure he’s ready to go. He did a lot more stuff mental than physical right now. He should be fine,” Frazier said Thursday, the last time he addressed the media before Saturday’s game.
“It’s a little bit tight for him. He’s got to loosen up a little bit some things with it. … He’s going to do everything he can to be ready for this ballgame.”
Ponder had a career-high 120.2 passer rating Sunday against the Packers as he threw three touchdown passes.
CB Antoine Winfield was also listed as questionable with a fractured right hand that swelled up on him during Sunday’s game and caused him to miss the entire second half of the game.
However, Winfield was adamant he would play in the wild card game.
“Absolutely. I’m not coming out of this game. I have the whole offseason to recover,” Winfield said. “I’ll be good.”
He is expected to wear a sturdier cast on the hand Saturday than he had on Sunday, and he believes the cold weather will also help with the pain. He also confirmed that he would take pain killers to help him through.
“Just to see him move around a little bit with that cast, he was actually hitting the dummies and doing some things to jar it to see how it would feel and he said it felt great,” Frazier said after Thursday’s practice. “That was encouraging.”
Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, one of the team’s better cover men on special teams, is out with a shoulder injury. All other Vikings on the injury report – RB Adrian Peterson (abdomen), S Harrison Smith (knee), DE Brian Robison (shoulder), DE Jared Allen (shoulder), CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), DE George Johnson (quadriceps), P Chris Kluwe (knee) and RT Phil Loadholt (knee) – are all probable.
For the Packers, CB Tramon Williams (illness), WRs Randall Cobb (ankle) and Jordy Nelson (knee), TE Jermichael Finley (quadriceps), RB Alex Green (knee), CB Davon House (hip) and S Charles Woodson (collarbone) are listed as probable.
WR Jarrett Boykin (ankle) and DE Jerel Worthy (knee), both injured against the Vikings Sunday, are out. RB James Starks (knee) is questionable.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.