According to coach Leslie Frazier, Christian Ponder couldn't play in Saturday night's Wild Card loss because he didn't have full range of motion in his throwing arm and the elbow was "tight" and "swollen."
Before Saturday night, Ponder had never missed a start through two NFL seasons while often playing at less than 100 percent, so it's hard to criticize him for sitting out this one. As to whether Ponder is salvageable after a mostly-rough second year, we'd lean toward cautiously saying yes because he has legit arm talent, and is athletic and smart. He's going to have to overcome a tendency to look at the pass rush rather than receivers downfield, however, and the Vikings are going to have to give him someone worth throwing to on the perimeter. Ponder will turn 25 in February and he still has a long way to go.