Christian Ponder will miss the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London this Sunday, giving Matt Cassel the start at Wembley Stadium according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Head coach Leslie Frazier addressed media Friday morning, and said that the fractured rib Ponder suffered in Week 3 is too close to the quarterback's heart to risk playing him Sunday.
Ponder was, unsurprisingly, disappointed with the decision. Via the Pioneer Press:
"It stinks," Ponder said. "The biggest risk was health. We made the decision based on what's best for me, what's best for my team. It stinks."
Matt Cassel will make his first start since joining the Vikings from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. He was announced as the starter after Ponder was held out of practice Friday. Though some fans may be happy to see the change, the switch does not appear to have anything to do with Ponder's performance this season. Ponder practiced with the team Thursday and took a majority of first-team snaps.
Ponder is completing 59 percent of his passes this season, and has 691 yards passing through three games. He also has just two touchdown passes to five interceptions. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, little suggests that Cassel will be a significant improvement. He had a disastrous stint with the Chiefs. In nine games last season, Cassel complete 58.1 percent of passes for 1,796 yards, six touchdowns, 12 interceptions and six lost fumbles.