LONDON (KARE/KTTC) -- Saying it was too risky to put starting QB Christian Ponder out on the field with a broken rib, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier named newcomer Matt Cassel his starter for Sunday's game in London versus the Steelers.
Frazier explained during a short press conference that "Christian had a fractioned rib and just felt like, from a medical standpoint, it was too risky to take a hit to the ribs."
Ponder's condition was first mentioned on Wednesday, when both he and the team spoke of a rib injury suffered in last Sunday's game against Cleveland. At that point Frazier said Friday would be the point when the club would make a decision about Ponder's status.
The news set of a chorus of cries for Cassel to take over, as Ponder's critics had been calling for his benching even before news of the injury. The third-year QB from Florida State has had an uneven 2013 season, throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes and seeming out of synch in key situations.