It didn’t take very long for the Minnesota Vikings to pull the plug on the Josh Freeman experiment. After just one start, the team has decided to go back to Christian Ponder.
On Friday, Minnesota announced that Ponder will start at quarterback on Sunday when they visit the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings signed Freeman after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and gave him the nod against the New York Giants in Week Seven. Ponder started last week with Freeman sidelined with a concussion. The Vikings have decided to bench Freeman, and give Ponder the starting role.
"We're in the business of winning games," head coach Leslie Frazier said, according to USA Today. "Christian gives us the best chance to win, and that's how we're going to approach it."
Ponder didn’t exactly have a great performance in Freeman’s absence. He threw for 145 yards and no touchdowns. Ponder ran for a touchdown in the final two minutes, but the game was already well in hand as the Green Bay Packers beat the Vikings, 44-31.
"[Ponder] prepared really hard and he went out there and laid it all on the line," center John Sullivan told the StarTribune.com. "You know, you see that last run that he made when things were getting out of reach and he's still out there fighting until the end. I mean, that's not my decision. But I'd love to see him stay back there, of course."
With the struggles of the Vikings quarterbacks, opposing defense have been able to concentrate on stopping Adrian Peterson. The tailback has just 150 rushing yards in the past three games, which Minnesota has lost by a total of 54 points.
The Vikings may have some success passing the ball against the Cowboys, who have allowed more yards in the air than any team in football. Opponents are throwing for an average of 333.9 yards per game against Dallas. Last week, they allowed Calvin Johnson to have one of the best individual performances of all time. The All-Pro caught 14 pass for 329 yards.
In Week Eight, the Cowboys appeared to have a victory over the Detroit Lions in hand. However, Matthew Stafford threw for 79 yards in the final minute to give Detroit the win.
"When you put your guts out there for three hours, collectively, sometimes it's hard to swallow those kinds of defeats," head coach Jason Garrett said. "What we need to do as a football team is learn from what just happened and find a way, in all three phases, to win this kind of game, and do what we need to do to win the game."
The Cowboys are looking for a win that will help them pull away from the rest of the NFC East. They have a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles, who have scored just 10 total points in their last two games despite what was expected to be a high-octane offense. The Giants and Redskins both have just two wins.
Las Vegas Betting Odds: Dallas favored by 10 points
Over-Under: 47.5 points
Kickoff Time: 1:00 PM Eastern Time
TV Channel: FOX
Online Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket Max
Prediction: Dallas 34, Minnesota 17