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Vikings decline fifth-year option for Ponder

Vikings QB will be free agent after 2014. Jason Butt

Print This May 03, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

This will be a make-or-break year for Christian Ponder.

According to a report from NFL.com, the Vikings have declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Ponder's rookie contract, signed in 2011. Ponder was the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

This move should come as no surprise as the fifth-year option would cost about $9.6 million for the 2015 season.

The Vikings could very much be in play to draft a quarterback, though the starting job — for now — appears to be between Ponder and Matt Cassel. Based on how the two quarterbacks performed last year, Cassel likely has a leg up.

Ponder was a surprise pick at 12th overall and has disappointed for the most part. Though he's completed 60.2 percent of his passes the past three years, he's thrown 38 touchdowns to 34 interceptions.

His best season was in 2012, when he finished the season with 2,935 yards and 18 touchdowns in a run-first attack that saw Adrian Peterson go for over 2,000 rushing yards.

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