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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Frazier: No QB competition, Christian Ponder is starter

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

Christian Ponder got a vote of confidence from coach Leslie Frazier. (USATSI)

Christian Ponder improved in 2012, raising his completion percentage, touchdowns and passer rating from his rookie season. He didn't exactly have top-flight wide receivers after Percy Harvin went down.

Ponder must make a bigger jump in 2013 to establish himself as “the man” for years to come. While some interpreted the Matt Cassel signing as a lack of faith in Ponder, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier insisted otherwise Monday,

"Christian Ponder is our starting quarterback. Matt knows that, he knew it when we went through the acquisition," Frazier said on NFL Network.

"[Cassel] knows that he's coming in to provide insurance for us. If something were to happen to Christian injury-wise, we have a quality backup that can step in and do a great job for us," Frazier said. "Christian just needs to continue to improve like we all expect him to, but he's our starting quarterback."

Cassel makes sense as insurance. Minnesota had to start Joe Webb in the playoffs due to Ponder's arm injury, and that didn't work out well.

Cassel, who got a two-year, $7.4 million deal after his release by the Chiefs, says he has no problem with his role. But the presence of a onetime starter who led the Patriots to 11 wins in 2008 and made the Pro Bowl in 2010 adds pressure on Ponder.

Fortunately for the 25-year-old Ponder, the Vikes replaced one of his detractors, Harvin, with a No. 1 receiver in Greg Jennings.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Larry Hartstein @LarryHartstein.

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