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Former FSU QB Ponder expects boos from Viking fans

Former FSU QB Christian Ponder signed with the Raiders as a free agent in March after four years of struggles with the Vikings.
Former FSU QB Christian Ponder signed with the Raiders as a free agent in March after four years of struggles with the Vikings.
Published Aug. 22, 2015

NAPA, Calif. — Christian Ponder is under no illusions about what kind of reaction he'll get when he returns to Minnesota.

"I would expect some boos probably," Ponder said.

Ponder joked that he might even respond with a bow when he takes on the Vikings in a preseason game for the Raiders tonight.

The game comes four years after the Vikings drafted Ponder 12th overall out of Florida State, three years after he helped take them to the playoffs and two years after he lost his starting job.

He signed with the Raiders as a free agent in the offseason after the Vikings didn't pick up his contract option year.

In Oakland, Ponder, 27, is the backup to Derek Carr. He accepts the blame for the struggles that have landed him here.

"I just didn't play well," he said. "I didn't play as well as I should have. (Matt) Cassel did well when he stepped in when I got hurt, and they had a different plan going forward. It's unfortunate it didn't work out. I missed that opportunity, but that's in the past. I'm taking advantage of my chance here."

Ponder has fared well, running with the first team for much of the offseason program while Carr dealt with an injury and throwing a touchdown pass in the exhibition opener last week against the Rams.

Ponder also serves as a valuable sounding board for Carr, who is in his second season.

"He's been here to help and here to compete every day," Carr said. "We get along great, and I love having him."

Browns: Quarterback Josh McCown will not miss any practice time after hurting a finger on his throwing hand during a loss to the Bills on Thursday. Last season with the Bucs, McCown missed five games with a torn thumb ligament in his throwing hand. He threw interceptions on his team's first two drives Thursday, raising questions about whether backup Johnny Manziel, who threw a touchdown pass and made a great play, was threatening to jump him on the depth chart. Coach Mike Pettine said the depth chart remained unchanged.

Cowboys: Owner Jerry Jones suggested the team could sit quarterback Tony Romo and other starters for a preseason game in San Francisco on Sunday over concerns with the troublesome turf at Levi's Stadium. Jones made his comments in a radio interview, then later softened his remarks when he met with reporters, saying he has "such respect for what that organization is and what they are going to get done."

Redskins: The concussion quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered in Thursday's preseason win over the Lions is not believed to be severe, the Washington Post reported. Special teams captain and backup inside linebacker Adam Hayward tore his right ACL, an MRI exam showed, and he will miss the season, the newspaper said.

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Steelers: Rookie cornerback Senquez Golson had shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely. The second-round draft pick out of Mississippi has been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp began.

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