From Comcast SportsNetEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Christian Ponder says he's excited and grateful for the opportunity to take over as quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. The rookie says he will also be leaning heavily on veteran Donovan McNabb for help. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier officially announced on Wednesday that Ponder is the starting quarterback going forward. Frazier says the decision was based solely on what gives the team the best chance to win. McNabb will remain on the team as the backup, and Frazier says he handled the demotion professionally and pledged to help Ponder succeed. Ponder was drafted with the 12th overall pick in April. He made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter last week against Chicago and will make his first start on Sunday at home against Green Bay.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots will have a familiar face back on the practice field, it appears.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, running back Dion Lewis is expected to begin practicing this week. Lewis has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the regular season.
Lewis tore his ACL in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, landing him on season-ending injured reserve. He was able to participate on a limited basis during OTAs but then experienced a setback that required surgery before the start of the season.
Once Lewis hits the practice field, the Patriots have a three-week window to place him on the active roster. The team currently has an open roster spot and could, in theory, activate him as early as this week.
When healthy last season, Lewis as a dynamic all-purpose back whose quickness allowed him to make defenders miss both in tight spaces between the tackles and in the open field as a receiver. The Patriots have used James White as their primary sub back in Lewis' absence, and he's on pace for a career year, with 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.