We’ve known for a couple of days that Josh Freeman won’t be starting at quarterback for the Vikings against the Panthers this weekend, but the identity of the player that will be starting against the Panthers has not been revealed.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team is expected to give Matt Cassel his second straight start. Per Schefter, Christian Ponder has been cleared to return from the rib injury that kept him out of the Week Four victory over the Steelers, but that the team isn’t ready to put him back in the starting lineup.
Earlier this week, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said that the fact that signing Freeman wasn’t a reflection on their feelings about Ponder. Spielman said the team still believes Ponder has a bright future and coach Leslie Frazier said last week that Ponder remained the team’s starting quarterback as long as he’s healthy.
If Schefter’s report is correct, then something has changed in the Vikings’ thinking about the quarterback position. However bright the team thinks Ponder’s future might be, sticking with Cassel while also signing Freeman would send a much less sunny message about their thoughts on Ponder’s present.