ESPN.com news services
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who fractured a rib about two weeks ago, has been cleared to play, but Matt Cassel is the likely starter Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Josh Freeman, who signed with the Vikings on Monday, isn’t practicing much this week as he learns the offense. Freeman, who probably will take over the starting duties soon, said the goal was for him to learn enough of the offense to play in an emergency situation Sunday, if needed.
Cassel practiced with the Vikings’ first-team offense Wednesday, though he said he has not yet been told whether he will start Sunday. The Vikings waited until Friday to announce a decision before their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, and coach Leslie Frazier hinted the team will take its time again.
Ponder was a limited participant in practice Wednesday.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling contributed to this report.