Matt Cassel to start against Steelers, Christian Ponder nursing fractured rib

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Ponder made the trip to London for Minnesota’s International Series game against the Pittsburgh Steelers along with the rest of the team. However, the former No. 12-overall draft selection will be watching from the bench.

Former Kansas City starter Matt Cassel has been handed the job in Minnesota over Ponder.

Ponder has been nursing a rib injury, which he sustained against the Cleveland Browns. On Friday it was revealed that he had suffered a fractured rib.

There has been speculation as to whether Cassel – whom Vikings fans have been calling for throughout the team’s surprising 0-3 start to the 2013 season – would get his chance under center. Through three games, Ponder ranks No. 21 in the league in passing yards (230.2 per game), No. 22 in completion percentage (59.0) and all the way down at No. 30 in passer rating (65.9). For a team that went out and acquired receiver Greg Jennings, then drafted Cordarrelle Patterson, Ponder’s numbers are unacceptable.

His quarterbacks coach, Craig Johnson, explains to USA TODAY Sports that Ponder understands that.

“The bottom line is — and he knows this — if you do not win the game, you’re getting the blame. That’s just the way it is. Suck it up. You’re no different than quarterbacks in every other part of the country. When you lose, you’re getting the blame. That’s part of the deal.”

Unfortunately for Ponder, he will have plenty of time on the sidelines to contemplate his level of blame, while Cassel attempts to earn a win against the similarly 0-3 Steelers.