EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings know who’ll be giving the handoffs this week, even if they’re not sure yet who’ll be taking them.
Running back Adrian Peterson has shed the walking boot on his sprained right foot, but he wasn’t ready for practice Wednesday. He probably won’t participate until Friday at the earliest, and coach Leslie Frazier said he’s more optimistic about the condition of backup Toby Gerhart than he is with Peterson. Gerhart’s hamstring injury will also likely keep him from practicing until Friday.
Matt Cassel will start at quarterback again, though. That’s settled for the week. Christian Ponder, cleared to play following his concussion, will be the backup. Cassel had 265 yards and two touchdowns passing in a turnover-free game at Baltimore, so he’ll get another chance against Philadelphia.
“He did a good job on the ballgame on Sunday. He’s done a good job when he stepped in a backup role and had to finish games. I just decided to give this him opportunity to see if he can continue to build on some of the play that he had.”
Josh Freeman, once the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay, signed for $2 million two months ago and still only 25, is stuck as the third-stringer. With three games left and the Vikings (3-9-1) eliminated from playoffs contention, Frazier was asked if the Vikings are wasting the chance for further evaluation of Freeman. He played once, an abysmal performance on Oct. 21 at New York.
“That’s a good question. But we made the decision that we’re going to give Matt this opportunity,” Frazier said. “Hopefully, things will work out. But Josh, he’s working hard. He’s doing everything he needs to do.”
The Vikings aren’t any closer to figuring out who their quarterback will be in 2014 and beyond, but they’ve been competitive in all but a handful of games, losing four and tying one in five contests they’ve held late fourth-quarter leads in. Cassel has played well enough to suggest he can help maintain some momentum.