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Donovan McNabb era ends: Vikings will start Christian Ponder on Sunday

Donovan McNabb has run out of second chances. With the Vikings woefully underperforming at 1-5, and McNabb struggling to find his own receivers and close out games, rookie Christian Ponder will start at quarterback in Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The news comes from NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, who credits it to a "league source," who also says that Frazier has already broken the news to McNabb. This is something of a wicked de ja vu for McNabb, who was also benched last year while playing for the Washington Redskins.

In that instance, McNabb was yanked to make way for washed-up never-was Rex Grossman. This time around, he'll make way for Ponder, a 23-year-old prospect who showed flashes of competence in the Vikings blowout loss to the Chicago Bears.

Asked earlier this week about Ponder's play against the Bears, McNabb told reporters not to read too much into his getting pulled, pointing out that Adrian Peterson sat down as well.

For his part, head coach Leslie Frazier told media that the Vikings needed to "sit down and talk about a lot of things," the Pioneer Press reported.

Well, it looks like one of those things is settled, at least according to La Canfora.

Ponder's "reward" for looking all right in garbage time against the Bears is the terrifying prospect of sitting in against the undefeated Packers, with Clay Matthews and his long hair coming head-on at top speed.

As Ponder stares into the fear-instilling teeth of the Packers' defense, he should perhaps keep in mind the words of Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, who had his own theory of why McNabb didn't finish the game against the Bears.

"We were getting Donovan killed," Hutchinson said. "Maybe they tried to save him."

(Gulp.)

Good luck out there, Ponder. Break a leg kid. Just try not to actually have your leg broken.


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