NFL notes: Christian Ponder is Vikings' QB again
The quarterback carousel hasn't stopped turning for the Vikings and it seems to spin more wildly out of control each week.
After an awful debut on Monday night, Josh Freeman reported to team headquarters this week with concussion-like symptoms. The short week will make it difficult for him to gain clearance to play Sunday night against Green Bay.
Step right up, Christian Ponder. It's your turn to hop on for another ride when the Vikings (1-5) host the Packers (4-2).
"It's an opportunity to get back in the saddle and be more vocal and take ahold of this position," Ponder said on Wednesday after practice, "because I don't want to give it back."
Ponder started the first three games of the season, was injured and then lost his job to backup Matt Cassel. Cassel played well in a victory over Pittsburgh and poorly in a loss to Carolina two weeks ago, prompting coach Leslie Frazier to turn to the newly signed Freeman against the New York Giants on Monday.
Freeman went 20 for 53 for 190 yards and one interception in the loss to the Giants, but Frazier said Tuesday that he would stick with Freeman going forward as the starter.
Then Freeman was diagnosed with the concussion symptoms, thrusting Ponder back into the middle of the action. For a team that is looking to stabilize itself during a massively disappointing first six weeks, the ins and outs at quarterback aren't helping.
"At the quarterback position, you want to know who is going to be lining up week-in and week-out," Frazier said. "But that's the circumstance where we are and Christian will do a good job for us on Sunday night."
Browns make another QB switch
Jason Campbell didn't get passed over a second time. He's all Cleveland has left.
Campbell is finally getting a chance to start at quarterback for the reeling Browns, who are turning to the veteran to settle things down and save a season that's beginning to spin out of control.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski benched ineffective starter Brandon Weeden and will go with Campbell on Sunday against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. Campbell is the third QB to start for Cleveland already this season and the 20th the most in the NFL since 1999 for the Browns, who have spent their entire expansion era searching for an on-field leader.
With Weeden coming off poor performances in losses to Detroit and Green Bay, Chudzinski decided to switch to Campbell, who was leapfrogged earlier this season by Brian Hoyer.
Around the league
Broncos • A tender ankle forced quarterback Peyton Manning to miss practice for the first time Wednesday since joining Denver last year. Manning said he plans to return to practice Thursday.
Falcons • Running back Steven Jackson, who has missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, practiced Wednesday and said he feels ready to "give it a go."
Washington • Safety Brandon Meriweather has had his two-game suspension cut in half by an appeals officer. Meriweather was suspended Monday by the NFL for repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. But hearing officer Ted Cottrell reduced the penalty to one game.
Packers • Coach Mike McCarthy says injured tight end Jermichael Finley is making progress in recuperating from a serious neck injury but is seeking more opinions from specialists.
Finley remained in a hospital Wednesday after getting hurt in last week's win over the Browns.
49ers • Rookie linebacker Nick Moody returned to practice for the first time since Week 1, when he went on injured reserve with the designation to return after breaking his hand.
Bills • Coach Doug Marrone is uncertain whether running back C.J. Spiller will play at New Orleans on Sunday. Marrone said he's considering sitting Spiller to give his sore left ankle time to heal.
Week 8 schedule
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 6:25 p.m., NFL
Cleveland at Kansas City, 11 a.m.
Buffalo at New Orleans, 11 a.m.
Miami at New England, 11 a.m., Ch. 2
Dallas at Detroit, 11 a.m.
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.
San Francisco vs. Jacksonville at London, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
Pittsburgh at Oakland, 2:05 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati, 2:05 p.m.
Atlanta at Arizona, 2:25 p.m.
Washington at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13
Green Bay at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5
Open: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee
Seattle at St. Louis, 6:40 p.m., ESPN