Well, this is interesting. In a bad way.
On Thursday, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier talked about starting quarterback Christian Ponder's elbow injury. On Friday Ponder was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's playoff game and the injury has basically kept him from practicing all week. Ponder's sore elbow might, just might, keep him out of the Vikings first playoff game since 2009. Against the Green Bay Packers. At Lambeau Field. In (likely) cold weather.
This is not good for two reasons.
1) Even if Ponder can play (and let's assume he will), he's missed practice time before the biggest game of his young NFL career. This is not insignificant for a player who is still young, still developing and whose confidence can disappear in the flash of an overthrown pass, a missed read or an interception. You want a second year QB playing his first playoff game to get in all the practice time he could possibly get. And what if his arm isn't right due to the sore elbow. How much zip does that take off his passes? How will it affect his accuracy? What if he bangs it again? Does that knock him out of the game, forcing the Vikings to depend on Joe Webb to win the game for them? There is a lot not to like about all of those possibilities.
2) If Ponder can't play, that means backup Joe Webb will play. We all know about Crazy Legs Webb's athletic ability. But he's also a guy who has played meaningful snaps in just five games during his three years with the team. During that time he's completed roughly 58 % of his passes. He's thrown for three touchdowns and been intercepted three times and he's got a QB rating in the high 60s. I should also mention he's run for 273 yards on 41 rushes (6.7 yard average) and rushed for four Tds. Webb is a great scrambler. But his passing stats don't have me feeling too good about having Webb starting a playoff game for the Vikes. It's also important to note that Webb has basically not played QB the entire 2012 regular season. Ponder has played every snap except for three. How sharp can Webb possibly be? His timing with receivers won't be as good as Ponder's. How quickly will he be able to identify defensive coverages at the line of scrimmage and get out of bad plays? It's fine to say all he'd have to do is hand the ball to Adrian Peterson, but even if Peterson is having another monster day, the Vikings need their QB to complete some passes to keep drives going. The last time the Vikings played at Lambeau, Ponder couldn't do that and they lost. I have grave reservations about the Vikings being able to do much offensively in this game - and I almost can't believe I'm writing this - without Ponder under center.