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Report: Cassel expected to start for Vikings


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.

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59 Responses to “Report: Cassel expected to start for Vikings”
  1. wearethesteelers says: Oct 10, 2013 10:19 AM

    Super Bowl?

  2. jnbnet says: Oct 10, 2013 10:22 AM

    Cassel deserves the start. He played well and gives the Vikings their best chance of winning this weekend.

  3. 2manyconcussions says: Oct 10, 2013 10:23 AM

    “If Schefter’s report is correct, then something has changed in the Vikings’ thinking about the quarterback position.”

    Nothing has changed in their thinking. What is changing is the way this is being spun so as to give the Viking management the ability to change horses and still act like this was all part of the plan.

  4. nflpoker says: Oct 10, 2013 10:23 AM

    Ponder very well may have a bright future. . .

    With another team.

  5. irishgary says: Oct 10, 2013 10:24 AM

    Noodle arm is gonna have hurt feelings

  6. AD2K5 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:25 AM

    I still can’t believe they waived MBT and kept Ponder on the roster. By signing Freeman, they’ve all but put up a billboard saying Christian is done in Minnesota. Why keep him on the roster and let go of a young, quarterback who still has potential? Makes no sense. Sometimes I wonder about the decisions being made at WinterPark.

  7. trollsetter says: Oct 10, 2013 10:26 AM

    So ends the Ponder era. Godspeed.

  8. thesconnienation says: Oct 10, 2013 10:26 AM

    So which backup QB should they start this week?

  9. jwcarlson says: Oct 10, 2013 10:26 AM

    How silly is all of this going to be if Cassel comes out and has a great game? So do you bench the guy who’s won two straight for you and has played like a HoFer compared to your “starting” QB? Do you throw Freeman in there? Do you let him sit until Cassel “looses it”?

    It really feels like Ponder needs to be traded or cut or something. Or heck, maybe just hit ’em with the old three-headed monster attack at QB. Maybe even run some two QB sets with AP in there as well.

  10. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Oct 10, 2013 10:27 AM

    Really? I thought your coach was emphatic that Ponder was still the starter if healthy? Was he lying? I’m so glad that Mike McCarthy is our coach instead of a liar.

  11. blizzard01 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:30 AM

    Good. Cassel gives them the best chnace of winning this Sunday. Going forward- who knows.

  12. thesmartest1 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:30 AM

    Bump up Greg Jennings accordingly. Lol…

  13. nflpoker says: Oct 10, 2013 10:31 AM

    The Vikings may just be doing their version of the Alex Smith routine, when Smith got that concussion. If Cassel starts, that basically will show the Viking’s hand as far as Ponder is concerned, if not done so already. They may not throw Ponder under the bus, but they sure won’t give him the keys to the bus.

  14. ma5terbla5t3r says: Oct 10, 2013 10:33 AM

    Still better than the Packers, still better than Rogers. Bank on it!

  15. adantsa says: Oct 10, 2013 10:37 AM

    Actions speak louder than words. Signing Freeman was a sign they acknowledge that Ponder is not going to be the guy even if they wont say it out loud. Cassel earned a 2nd start but I expect him to be supplanted within a couple weeks by Freeman. SKOL!

  16. tonyovertroy says: Oct 10, 2013 10:42 AM

    We praised Rick Spielman in the 2012 draft for pretending to be so disinterested in Kalil that the Browns traded up.

    I think it’s time to consider that Spielman is playing the “faux-moron” card as part of a ploy to secretly Tank for Tajh.

  17. paychrisjohnson28 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:43 AM

    If you read the tea leaves, Ponder is on his way out if Freeman plays well for the Vikings at Quarterback. Cassel will be the backup regardless and will be getting the start this week because he won the last time the Vikings played against the Steelers, Frazier is going with the hot hand. The only way Ponder can get back in the mix in the Vikings carousel of QB’s is if both Freeman and Cassel play awful or get hurt then Ponder will get a chance again. You have to wonder how Mrs. Samantha Ponder (ESPN sideline reporter) feels about all this? !

  18. easyrider1903 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:51 AM

    Ponder = career backup

  19. gudasbeard1 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:55 AM

    Time to trade ponder to the jags…

  20. obsessedvikingfan says: Oct 10, 2013 11:04 AM


    Good move by vikings.

  21. ma5terbla5t3r says: Oct 10, 2013 11:06 AM

    Freemon is lerning the offence right now. He’s got the wheels of a prime mMike Vick and the arm of Elway in the rite system. He will THRIVE with the Vikings. watch out NFC east!

  22. ryanreitsma says: Oct 10, 2013 11:24 AM

    Instead of having a Quarterback, the Vikings should rename the position Professional Hand Off Machine. Whoever has the best hand-off technique should be starting every game. Instead of throwing with the first team offense, Cassel and Freeman should have a hand-off competition. Whoever cleanly gets the ball to Purple Jesus more often out of 100 hand-offs, starts.

  23. funshipm174 says: Oct 10, 2013 11:29 AM

    Christian Ponder, meet Mark Sanchez!

  24. revischrist16 says: Oct 10, 2013 11:35 AM

    Jerome Simpson’s fantasy value just skyrocketed. Heard it here first.

  25. jjackwagon says: Oct 10, 2013 11:43 AM

    As long as Cassel still has that “Backup QB” title he will be fine. As soon as the title changes to “Starter” it’s too heavy for him.

  26. jonnyfootball82 says: Oct 10, 2013 11:51 AM

    Cassel should have a great game this weekend. I’m predicting 795 yards and 8 TDs, in the first 3 quarters

  27. truvikingfan says: Oct 10, 2013 11:59 AM


  28. koreystringerswidow says: Oct 10, 2013 12:02 PM

    Drink lots of fluids Matt.

  29. ddmcd1974 says: Oct 10, 2013 12:13 PM

    wheels of Vick arm of Elway? are you joking bro. take it down about 2 notches and add in smarts of a senior in high school and you got yourself Freeman.

  30. jazz11001 says: Oct 10, 2013 12:21 PM

    Hold up- The playbook for Ponder is match book in size…If Freeman cannot pick up the 4-5 plays that Ponder executes on a 59% clip then you got the wrong guy

  31. stellarperformance says: Oct 10, 2013 12:35 PM

    It will interesting to see what happens next if Cassel plays lights out for the next two or three weeks. One way or another, Ponder is toast. But will they then sit Freeman until Cassel messes up? No clarity yet. And the Viking “SuperBowl” is fast approaching on October 27th.

  32. hotwings4u says: Oct 10, 2013 12:47 PM

    Freeman will be the starter during the bye week…ooppss…when they play the NY Giants

  33. successfultroll49 says: Oct 10, 2013 12:47 PM

    If you combined all the best skills and attributes of Ponder, Cassell, and Freeman you still get a bad quarterback.

  34. banlarson says: Oct 10, 2013 12:48 PM

    As soon as they picked up Freeman it marked the last time Ponder would take a game snap for the Vikings. No doubt they have tried to trade him, but clearly no takers. They don’t want to cut him (that would be a negative mark against Spielman’s draft record), so its all but guaranteed if Freeman does anything in practice, Ponder will be placed on IR due to an “aggravation” of his “broken” (snicker) rib.

  35. banlarson says: Oct 10, 2013 12:54 PM

    I hope this marks the end to having to dread when the offense has the ball on passing downs. Having to watch Ponder roll to his left and throw across his body, or to his right to the TE 2 yards from the line of scrimmage. Or to his “long” sideline passes that receivers catch, but 3 yards out of bounds. How about the crossing routes that he throws behind receivers, or over their head. The silly outs to a covered WR that allows the corner to take it to the house. Or how about the consistent inability to “feel” pressure and his uncanny ability to run right into the defensive lineman for a sack.

    Yes, farewell young Ponder, may your future be bright. I’d suggest taking your lovely bride and using that big brain of yours to work in the private business sector.

  36. davikes says: Oct 10, 2013 1:16 PM

    Ponder has a very bright future as a backup somewhere. It’s pretty much the best job you can get if you aren’t good enough to start. He’ll still make a couple mil a year. I wish my future was that bright.

  37. ejmat2 says: Oct 10, 2013 1:18 PM

    Cue in the Seahawks obtaining Christian Ponder and Pete Carroll telling everyone how the Vikings mistreated Ponder then cutting him a few weeks later when he realizes the Vikings were right.

  38. 2ruefan says: Oct 10, 2013 1:25 PM

    How silly is all of this going to be if Cassel comes out and has a great game?

    MY thoughts are:
    How will is all of this going to be if Cassel shows to be what he has been before… wildly inconsistent and fails miserably and gets booed off the field?

    And Josh Freeman throws into coverage, reads defenses badly, and gets into a snit with his coaches?

    I mean.. WHY has NOBODY asked the question… “Hmmm… I wonder if there really IS something amiss with the attitude and capability of Freeman? WHY would a team give up a talented QB for no apparently reason or compensation?”

    Trust me folks… he ain’t the answer….

  39. freshlikenike says: Oct 10, 2013 1:41 PM

    Are you all high? Ponder was a 1st round pick. They will let him walk in fa so they get a pick in return for him. Its the best he could do for them, after being a bust. If they cut him they won’t receive a pick. Castle will play till freeman is ready. Castle knew coming in he was a backup for 2 years, and he agreed to it. Next year he’ll backup freeman incase he chokes.

  40. whatjusthapped says: Oct 10, 2013 1:49 PM

    Love the comments about Ponder being a back up some day. Outside of the Vikings, who is interested in a noodle arm Qb that isn’t very accurate and can’t hit anything more than 20 yards downfield?

    As for Cassel being the savior, he beat an 0-5 team that is likely to be drafting among the top 5 this next spring. The guy was horrible last year and there is nothing to suggest he is any better this year.

    Lets face reality here folks, Cassel is only starting because Freeman has had less than a week to learn the offense. Once Freeman starts, its his job for the rest of the year and the Vikings will soon find out what the Bucs already know, looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

  41. tjacks7 says: Oct 10, 2013 1:53 PM

    I don’t care who plays QB for the Vikings as long as it isn’t Ponder. NO MAS!!! I can’t take watching him play any more.

  42. flexx91 says: Oct 10, 2013 1:56 PM

    paychrisjohnson28 says:
    Oct 10, 2013 10:43 AM
    If you read the tea leaves, Ponder is on his way out if Freeman plays well for the Vikings at Quarterback

    Not so fast…..Ponder may be on his way out if Freeman plays well. Remember Freeman is an UFA after this season and if he plays well, it will be up to him where he plays next year.

  43. nflresearch says: Oct 10, 2013 1:56 PM

    AD2K5 says:
    Oct 10, 2013 10:25 AM
    I still can’t believe they waived MBT and kept Ponder on the roster.

    Capology.. cutting Ponder would cause signing bonus that was slated to count in 2014 to accelerate to now, meaning that it would result in them having to come up with more cap savings through other contract redo’s (they already had to do some of this, considering they were only 2 mill under the cap before signing Freeman). because MBT was claimed, he has become a minor cap saving move…

  44. elguardo says: Oct 10, 2013 2:01 PM

    I’m still hope the three stooges draw straws at the beginning of every new offensive series. That should place us nicely in the draft for next year.

  45. wdnemesis says: Oct 10, 2013 2:06 PM

    MBT was not any better than Ponder. I don’t mind if he did go to 49ers. I do in fact think its a good move to play Cassel.

  46. 2ruefan says: Oct 10, 2013 2:38 PM

    successfultroll49 says: Oct 10, 2013 12:47 PM

    If you combined all the best skills and attributes of Ponder, Cassell, and Freeman you still get a bad quarterback.

    I think that’s pretty negative and not really subjective at all. Ponder is actually pretty smart, and his is VERY quick. Cassel has a pretty quick release, and throws nice intermediate passes with good timing. Freeman at his best has good long ball and can throw it with accuracy. So, if you WERE to put together all of them you’d have a Big, Quick, strong, smart, strong-armed, quick release QB. Not bad at all really….

  47. toddc612 says: Oct 10, 2013 2:42 PM

    It’s quite the mess that the Vikings brass have backed themselves into with the quarterback situation. I’ve been unfortunate enough to watch Ponder play the first three games, and I think every Vikings fan will agree that anyone, and I mean ANYONE, should start over Ponder.

    We’ve reached breaking point and if they try to strut Ponder onto that field, the boos will be deafening. Thank goodness they manufactured the “rib injury” so the coddled QB can be let down gently..

    Cassel should start this week, with Freeman picking up against the Giants. Of course, this is all a distraction from what the team’s real issue is: defense. Their secondary is swiss-cheese.

    Between the quarterback drama, the non-existent defense, the stadium financial fiasco, a non-existent “head coach”, and a GM run amok.. the Vikings organization is similar to a circus side-show: always entertaining but slightly off and depressing.

  48. mrplow3 says: Oct 10, 2013 2:57 PM

    Former Viking Daunte Culpepper would be a better option than any of the current QB’s they have.

  49. paychrisjohnson28 says: Oct 10, 2013 3:13 PM

    We are a family of 7 and we are all BIG Christian Ponder fans, who led the Vikings to the playoffs in 2012 ? That’s right Christian Ponder. In the 2012 season through his first five games, he threw for 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Ponder would lead the Vikings to the playoffs that year with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
    How quickly do fans forget that? Over the off season you don’t remember that you wished Christian Ponder was starting the playoff game in 2012, instead of Joe Webb. The Vikings started 2013 with no running game and the offensive line blocking poorly, all the pressure was on Quarterback Christian a Ponder who no longer has Percy Harvin to throw to, instead he has a rookie to throw to and no one else except AP who has had undisclosed minor injuries hampering him this year and the Vikings defense not playing well. Remember the Bears game? Christian Ponder had the Vikings in position to win the game then the defense let the team down. We are all glad all 7 of us in our family have Christian Ponder Vikings jerseys because in the end he will be the Quarterback standing in this mess. Why are all of you such big Christian Ponder haters why? Look up his YouTube highlights you will see he is and will be a great Quarterback, not Josh “head case” Freeman!

  50. browns627 says: Oct 10, 2013 3:29 PM

    dear vikings, i’ll trade you half a ham sandwich and my snack pack pudding for your QB?

  51. harrycanyon says: Oct 10, 2013 3:30 PM

    Ponder got some money, and a hot trophy wife out of his brief career. He can move on now, and do something else with his life. NFL QB is not his calling.

  52. wallyswfl says: Oct 10, 2013 3:47 PM

    2013 Minnesota Vikings 3 100 59 59.0 33.3 691 6.9 230.3 2 2.0 5 5.0 47 12 2 10 44 65.9
    2012 Minnesota Vikings 16 483 300 62.1 30.2 2,935 6.1 183.4 18 3.7 12 2.5 65 28 3 32 184 81.2
    2011 Minnesota Vikings 11 291 158 54.3 26.5 1,853 6.4 168.5 13 4.5 13 4.5 72 23 4 30 164 70.1
    TOTAL 30 874 517 59.2 29.1 5,479 6.3 182.6 33 3.8 30 3.4 72 63 9 72 392 75.8
    013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3 94 43 45.7 31.3 571 6.1 190.3 2 2.1 3 3.2 39 11 0 7 47 59.3
    2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 558 306 54.8 34.9 4,065 7.3 254.1 27 4.8 17 3.0 95 55 16 26 161 81.6
    2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15 551 346 62.8 36.7 3,592 6.5 239.5 16 2.9 22 4.0 65T 33 5 29 164 74.6
    2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 474 291 61.4 29.6 3,451 7.3 215.7 25 5.3 6 1.3 64 48 10 28 195 95.9
    2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 290 158 54.5 29.0 1,855 6.4 185.5 10 3.4 18 6.2 42T 25 2 20 102 59.8
    TOTAL 60 1,967 1,144 58.2 32.8 13,534 6.9 225.6 80 4.1 66 3.4 95 172 33 110 669 78.8

  53. vikinganswer says: Oct 10, 2013 3:53 PM

    QB is NOT the problem. 30 points or more allowed each game is!!

  54. vikinganswer says: Oct 10, 2013 3:55 PM

    paychrisjohnson28 says:Oct 10, 2013 3:13 PM

    Couldnt agree with you more. Somebody who doesnt think Johnny Unitas is out there somewhere or on our bench.

  55. vikeneeds2bike says: Oct 10, 2013 4:03 PM

    I for one, am praying for Ponder. He’s a good kid/guy, and deserves better than he’s getting from fair weather fans. No doubt, if he “lit it up” coming off the bench & led this team to several consecutive weeks of victory, most of these “critics” would be slapping him/each other/themselves (?)/etc., on the back saying “see? we told ya so!!” Give the guy some real fan love n support, as he’s as human as the rest of us; yet in the end, this is just a game that shows “all” where their character lies. He’s worth more than this disrespect, seen here n elsewhere.
    [Jesus loves him, so do I; Period-end of story]

  56. stevent92 says: Oct 10, 2013 4:18 PM

    Ponder has been classy in his 2+ years with the Vikings, and the ONLY game I recall us losing because of Ponder was at Green Bay last year. That, unfortunately, is the microcosm that people view him under.

    When we have lost, we have lost because of a myriad of factors, not the least of which was bad, bad defense and inconsistent O-Line play.

    Cassel has started in the NFL since 2008, and Freeman since 2009. There is NOTHING to suggest either one of them is a consistent, starting QB in the NFL that can lead you to the playoffs.

    Ponder, on the other hand, did so in just his 2nd year. Say what you want, but Ponder isn’t the problem.

  57. iamthorny says: Oct 10, 2013 4:27 PM

    Tom Brady to busy to break the story this week?

  58. toddc612 says: Oct 10, 2013 4:39 PM

    paychrisjohnson28 — I’m thinking you are your family are probably the only Ponder supporters left in the country.

    From a fan’s perspective, we’ve watched the same thing year in and year out: The lack of vision.. the lack of pocket awareness.. the lofty airballs to compensate for his weak arm.. not seeing open receivers.. missing the 5-yard dump balls.. the countless interceptions and pick-sixes.. the lack of confidence and deer-in-the-headlights look.. The countless 3 and outs late in the game when all we need is a first down.

    Essentially, he looks lost out there and the fans are sick of it.

    We’re done. Game over, man.

    Yes, Ponder will be the last one standing in this mess — on the sidelines holding a clipboard, where he belongs.

  59. buffaloviking says: Oct 10, 2013 5:31 PM

    Fire Frazier. Also they should have cut Webb and kept MBT. It’s not all Ponders fault. Coaching is suspect at best. Playing Webb and Patterson is on the bench. Tampa two defense is ancient. Clean house.

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