North Notes: Ponder, Browns, Lions, Blount

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has fallen behind Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater on the depth chart, leading to some speculation that he could be trade bait for another team in search of an experienced backup QB. Still, the former first-round pick doesn’t feel as though tomorrow night’s game is an audition, writes Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I just want to go out and have a good game, not for an audition for another team or anything, but for myself and this team,” Ponder said. “Right now, my thoughts are securing a spot on this roster.”

  • With the cutdown to a 53 man roster looming, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal looks at who’s safe, who’s on the bubble, and who is a long shot to make the cut for the Browns. Wide receivers Nate Burleson and Charles Johnson are on the bubble, but no matter who survives Saturday’s cuts, Ulrich expects the team to scope out the waiver wire and perhaps trades to bolster their WR core.
  • The Lions axed coach Jim Schwartz, but there are plenty in Detroit who are still grateful for what he did during his tenure there, writes Kyle Meinke of “I know I’m going to get a hold of him prior to the game and just show gratitude and thank him for the opportunity of bringing me in,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “Because I haven’t had the opportunity to do that since he left.” Schwartz is now the defensive coordinator for the Bills.
  • Steelers free agent addition LeGarrette Blount is refusing to talk about his incident last week and says that he’s focused solely on football, writes Ralph N. Paul of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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