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Christian Ponder: 'I have to figure out what's best for me'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

What's next for Ponder now that he has been benched? (USATSI)
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder went from clear-cut starter to unquestionably benched over a two-game stretch in which he didn't take the field once. Injured prior to Week 4's matchup with the Steelers, Ponder gave way to backup Matt Cassel, even though coach Leslie Frazier made it clear that the job would be Ponder's once he was healthy.

Except Ponder was cleared to play last Sunday … and Cassel started again. By Wednesday, Frazier announced what everyone knew was inevitable: Josh Freeman, signed during the team's Week 5 bye, will be under center when the Vikings face the Giants on Monday night.

Ponder, who hasn't demanded a trade, is uncertain about what he'll do next.

"I don't know," he said Wednesday, via the Pioneer Press. "Again, I have to figure out what's best for me and everything and for this team. I don't know if that's staying here or going somewhere else."

Last Friday, Ponder conceded that he didn't know what the future held for him in Minnesota with Freeman now on the roster.

“I would be lying if I didn't say it's a little disappointing and frustrating,” he said. “But I'm not going to get too discouraged about it. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what the next few weeks, few months hold. We'll see how everything plays out.”

Ponder is rated as one of the league's worst quarterbacks, according to FootballOutsiders.com, and moving forward with Freeman certainly isn't a controversial decision.

"For this season, and for this ballgame -- primarily this ballgame -- he's going to be our backup quarterback," Frazier said of Ponder. "There's still so much more football to be played, and there's so many things that can happen to the remaining parts of this season, I don't want to pigeonhole Christian by any means.

"Josh, we're hoping he does well. That's why we're putting him in the lineup. If something were to happen and Christian had to get in there, we'd expect Christian to play well, also. We'll see how it goes as time goes on."

And if Freeman performs well, he could be re-signed in the offseason, effectively putting an end to the Ponder era two-plus years after the team drafted him in the first round.

For what it's worth -- and it's not much, we'd imagine -- Frazier said he didn't "see any scenario where (Ponder) would not be on our roster" for the rest of the 2013 season.

So there's that.

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