Quarterback dilemma for Vikings vs Packers

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You might say the Minnesota Vikings are pondering a quarterbacking dilemma.

Their veteran starter, Matt Cassel, is gone for the season with a broken left foot. First-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater took over in his first pro start last Sunday and performed extremely well in a 41-28 win over Atlanta. But Bridgewater sprained his left ankle and had to leave late in that game.

That could leave Christian Ponder, the former starter and a 2011 first-rounder, as the starter Thursday night when the Vikings visit Green Bay.

Even worse for Minnesota (No. 23 in the AP Pro32) is that the Packers (No. 11) and Aaron Rodgers seemed to find their mojo in a romp at Soldier Field last weekend.

None of this bodes well for the Vikings (2-2), a 9 1/2-point underdog to the Packers (2-2).

''If he can play, we'll play him,'' coach Mike Zimmer said of Bridgewater.

''I want to do what's best for the team. I'm sure the training staff and the coaching staff is going to do what's best for the team also,'' Bridgewater said.

The Packers have no such issues, especially after Rodgers picked apart the Bears for 302 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-17 rout.

''We have to do a great job of keeping an eye on our luggage - that means your man - and play football,'' cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said of the prospect of facing Rodgers and one of the NFL's top receivers, Jordy Nelson.

The Vikings might need eyes in the back of their heads to contain Rodgers and the Packers.

PACKERS, 33-16

No. 26 New York Jets (plus 6 1/2) at No. 5 San Diego

Anyone who can figure out this line, please clue us in.


No. 25 Cleveland (plus 2) at No. 30 Tennessee

Losing faith quickly in Titans, gaining some in Browns.


No. 4 Arizona (plus 7) at No. 3 Denver

A chance for unbeaten Cardinals to make a huge statement. Sorry ...

BRONCOS, 27-17

No. 2 Cincinnati (pick-em) at No. 13 New England

A chance for unbeaten Bengals to make a huge statement. Down goes the other spotless team.


No. 14 Kansas City (plus 6 1/2) at No. 9 San Francisco

Alex Smith returns to Bay Area with Chiefs on the rise. But so might be 49ers.

49ERS, 24-23

No. 16 Chicago (plus 2 1/2) at No. 17 (tie) Carolina

Two teams coming off weak performances. Something seems very wrong with Panthers' defense.

BEARS, 27-21

No. 17 Pittsburgh (minus 6 1/2) at No. 32 Jacksonville

Two more teams coming off weak performances; this could be spot for first Jaguars win. We're not that brave.


No. 15 Houston (plus 4) at No. 12 Dallas

For the Lone Star state championship.

COWBOYS, 28-20

No. 1 Seattle (minus 7) at No. 28 Washington, Monday night

For the Washington (state vs. city) championship. Fresher Super Bowl champs romp.


No. 6 Baltimore (plus 3 1/2) at No. 10 Indianapolis

Maybe the weekend's best matchup. First of four road games in five weeks for Ravens.

COLTS, 31-30

No. 20 Atlanta (plus 4) at No. 19 New York Giants

Giants have turned it around, Falcons O-line is an injury-ravaged mess.

GIANTS, 28-17

No. 29 St. Louis (plus 7) at No. 8 Philadelphia

Inconsistent as they are, Eagles can handle undermanned Rams.

EAGLES, 33-23

No. 27 Tampa Bay (plus 10 1/2) at No. 21 New Orleans

Angry Saints won't be as charitable to Bucs as Steelers were.

SAINTS, 27-20

No. 24 Buffalo (plus 7) at No. 7 Detroit

Would like to have seen EJ Manuel getting more of a chance.

LIONS, 26-16


2014 RECORD: Against spread: This week (9-3); Season (27-29-3). Straight up: This week (9-3); Season (37-23)

Best Bet: 2-2 against spread, 3-1 straight up.

Upset special: 4-0 against spread, 3-1 straight up.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL