"One thing you can expect in the NFL: expect the unexpected," Cassel said. "Because every week it changes. You never know what's going to happen. I learned that over time. This is my ninth year now."
This was the only definitive word from Frazier: there's not enough time for Freeman to learn the offense and play against the Panthers.
The Vikings didn't just sign him for depth, though. They're trying to save the season after losing their first three games, and they also need someone to count on for the future.
Though Freeman agreed to a prorated $3 million deal for only the rest of the year, these next three months will be a feeling out process for both sides in advance of the free agent market.
"He's a big quarterback with a strong arm that can do a lot of good things at all levels of the field," Spielman said.
Ponder said he felt "very little pain, if any" while throwing in practice. He also said he's not sure what to think about this latest bold move by Spielman.
"We'll see what happens. It's their decision, not my decision," Ponder said. "Obviously I can control how I play."
He produced some solid performances during a 10-6 season in 2012 that put the Vikings in the playoffs, but there were just as many ugly ones.
While the Vikings lost their first three games, Ponder had seven turnovers and a paltry 65.9 passer rating. That's ahead of only three players with enough qualifying attempts: Eli Manning, Freeman and Blaine Gabbert.
The decision on the starter won't come until later in the week once Ponder's health is evaluated, Frazier said. The decision to bring in Freeman, though, was a signal of wavered faith in Ponder, even if he has more chances to play this year.
Freeman has struggled mightily at times, too, but his best games and seasons have been better than Ponder's so far.
"You're always trying to find guys who you think can help your team win, and we think he's one of those guys," Frazier said.
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.
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