Steelers vs. Vikings: Decision on availability of Christian Ponder will be made after practice Friday

Justin K. Aller

Minnesota has a difficult decision in front of them before taking on the Steelers in Week 4. Start Matt Cassel, who has a history of futility against the Steelers, or start Christian Ponder, who has a history of futility against everyone else.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is known to keep personnel decisions close to his vest.

Close, as in, quarterback Christian Ponder will either wear a heavily padded vest to protect his ribs, or a ballcap and a clipboard. If Ponder is to start in Week 4 against the Steelers, it won't be announced until after the Vikings' practice on Friday, according to Pioneer Press reporter Brian Murphy. In the meantime, back-up Matt Cassel will get more reps in practice.

The Vikings played a similar game of cat-and-mouse between Ponder and Joe Webb last year before a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. In the end, Frazier elected to go with Webb, and judging by Webb's 11-for-30 performance in that game, it's fair to wonder if they bothered to tell Webb he would be playing until kickoff.

Webb has since been moved to wide receiver.

Cassel has experience playing against the Vikings, although the experience seems to indicate his ability to survive more than thrive. He has a career completion percentage less than 50 in three games against the Steelers, having one once. The Steelers beat him last year when he was with the Chiefs. Outside of a gutty late-game drive that tied the score, the Steelers abused Cassel, and held him to a passer rating of 46 in the Steelers' overtime victory.

Ponder hasn't needed to face the Steelers' pass defense to register low passer ratings in his career. He has a Roethlisbergean-like seven turnovers through three games (five interceptions and two lost fumbles).

The Vikings are 0-3.

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