Tim Polzer
Friday September 27th, 2013

Matt Cassel will start for the Vikings against the Steelers. (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images) Matt Cassel will start for the Vikings against the Steelers. (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

The Vikings will start backup quarterback Matt Cassel against the Steelers in London on Sunday after Christian Ponder suffered a rib injury, the team announced Friday.

Ponder did not practice with the team in London on Friday. He said Wednesday that he fractured a rib near his heart in the Vikings' loss to the Browns last Sunday. Ponder said doctors were concerned about him being hit in game-action.

"The biggest concern is contact," Ponder said, via USA Today. "My mindset is I'm going to play."

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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told reporters on Friday that he felt it was too risky to play his starter on Sunday. Frazier said Ponder wanted to play after taking first-team snaps on Thursday. The coach said the Vikings are not using Ponder's injury as an excuse for benching him after lackluster early season performances and the team's 0-3 start. Frazier said he expects Ponder to return as the team's starting quarterback, though he offered no timetable.

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