Christian Ponder

The Minnesota Vikings are going in a different direction than Christian Ponder, who is no longer injured and sitting on the bench simply for playing badly this season. This means that they’re not aggressively trying to trade him, but they’re certainly willing to hear some offers, with the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possibly interested.

Ponder, who has missed the last two games with a rib injury, was on his way out of the starting lineup in any case after the Vikings lost three consecutive games to open the season, with Ponder throwing five interceptions and only two touchdown passes, completing 59% of his passes and posting a 65.9 passer rating, 32nd in the NFL.

While Matt Cassel has already taken his place in the lineup and possibly in the depth chart, the arrival of Josh Freeman pushed him further away from the starting spot. Freeman has been announced as the starter for their next game, and if he does well, or at least better than what Ponder has given them this season or Freeman has given the Bucs, the likelihood of Ponder being traded rises substantially.

So who’s willing to take a shot on a quarterback that’s struggled with a mediocre receiving crew over the last two years, having to rely on the talents of the best running back in the league? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are a mess right now, might be an option. Mike Glennon is the quarterback of the future, but nothing is guaranteed. Besides wanting to dive into the 2014 NFL draft and take a QB there, going for Ponder now might make sense in giving the Bucs some decent backup material with an option to become a starter.

The Houston Texans shouldn’t have been in this kind of mess, but they are. Matt Schaub is injured but even without being hurt, his status as starter couldn’t be any rockier. The problem is that Case Keenum and T.J. Yates aren’t really an upgrade, but the question is if Ponder is actually better than those two.

The Jacksonville Jaguars? Rebuild mode means taking a quarterback with what looks like the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. However, spicing up the competition isn’t a bad idea, and for that Ponder might be adequate enough.

The Arizona Cardinals, despite all the turnovers we’re seeing from Carson Palmer, aren’t planning on changing, for now. With Ryan Lindley and Drew Stanton as his backups, there’s a chance the Cards make a move to improve their backup situation, and maybe create some competition for Palmer.