Posted October 01, 2013 on
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Most of the Minnesota Vikings fans, and even many of the players, seem to have made a decision on who should start at quarterback when their team comes out of the bye.
Coach Leslie Frazier isn't ready make that call just yet.
Frazier said Tuesday that he wants to see how Christian Ponder's injured ribs progress through the bye week before he makes a decision on who will start at home against Carolina on Oct. 13.
Frazier spoke two days after backup Matt Cassel helped engineer the Vikings' first win of the season. Cassel completed 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-27 victory over the Steelers in London on Sunday and brought an efficiency and big-play ability to the offense that hasn't been there all season.
Ponder has struggled this season. He has completed 59 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and five interceptions in the first three games, all losses for the Vikings. But those waiting for Frazier to declare that Cassel is the starter didn't get what they were looking for.
''It's hard to be concrete when you know that Christian is dealing with an injury,'' Frazier said. ''So we'll see what happens.''
Cassel wasn't exactly Peyton Manning in his first action of the season. But the veteran who was signed in the offseason to backup Ponder looked much more comfortable in the pocket while bringing better timing and rhythm to the offense.
His throws were generally on target and gave his receivers a chance to catch and run, while Ponder so often this season has forced his receivers into tough positions with inaccurate passes. That was never more evident than on Cassel's first touchdown pass of the game, a crisp throw out to Greg Jennings in the flat. The throw enabled Jennings to make the catch and immediately start heading up the field, and he was able to make several defenders miss and turn a short pass into a 70-yard touchdown.
After the game, several of his teammates were singing Cassel's praises.
''Cassel is more vocal, giving his two cents in the huddle and you could see guys buying into it,'' said Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Jennings, who caught his first two touchdowns as a Viking, lauded Cassel's poise and confidence.
''Impressive him stepping up and becoming a starter. He's always approached his role as a starter,'' Jennings said. ''He understands what being a professional is all about. For Matt to come up big today is no surprise to us.''
Frazier said he hadn't heard the comments from his offensive leaders, but did say that Cassel's performance was one of the key factors in the offense's crisp play against the Steelers.
''A lot of it had to with Matt, getting the ball out on time, being able to get us out of runs and execute when we had some eight-man fronts in the passing game,'' Frazier said. ''I think a lot of it had to do with his execution as a quarterback.''
So, then what is Frazier waiting for? At one point Tuesday, he said that Ponder ''is our starting quarterback.'' But he backed off of that stance when pressed on the issue.
''We'll talk about a lot of things. It's more than one ballgame,'' the coach said. ''He did a good job. I don't want to take anything away from what Matt did. We'll try to do what's best for our team. If we thought that Matt gave us the best chance to beat Carolina, then we'd approach that situation as well. If Christian is healthy, we'll take a look at what we need to do.''
BEST OF MAXIM
Vikings.com Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that he wants to see how well Christian Ponder’s injured ribs have progressed through the bye week before he decides who will start at home against Carolina on Oct. 13. “Christian is still injured but he’s our starting quarterback and we’ll see how he does coming out of the bye,” said
The Minnesota Vikings finally get their first (home)win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The final score 34-27 was in Wembley Stadium. The big story was Christian Ponder out with a broken rib and how Matt Cassel can step in to lead the team. Cassel answered that question fairly quick against a slumping Steelers team.
Greg Jennings making his second catch for a touchdown. (Steve Gardner...
Fran Tarkenton tells the world in his article for the Pioneer Press that Matt Cassel gives the Vikings the best chance to win. What gave the Vikings the edge this week was solid, confident, professional quarterback play — something we haven’t had consistently for several years now. Matt Cassel gave the team a chance to […]
Leslie Frazier liked what he saw out of Matt Cassel, but he wasn’t willing to name him the starter after the Vikings’ first win. More time is needed for evaluation, Frazier indicated.
Even though Matt Cassel had a great game today, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told reporters afterwards that Christian Ponder will not lose his starting job.
Despite Cassel's smart performance, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier says post-game that Christian Ponder will be the starting quarterback. .
— Access Vikings (@AccessVikings) September 29, 2013
I don’t understand...
According to Judd Zulgad of ESPN 1500 in Minnesota, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder could miss another 3-4 games since he broke the rib that’s right outside of his heart.
I'm guessing that with Christian Ponder having a fractured rib near his heart he will be out because of injury for three to four games.
— Judd Zulgad (@1500ESPNJudd) October 1, 2013
It really doesn’t...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier had a change of heart.
Two days after proclaiming Christian Ponder was "our quarterback," the Minnesota Vikings coached declared Matt Cassel will start when the team returns from its bye week for a home game against the Carolina Panthers.
Cassel led Minnesota to its first win of the season on Sunday in London against the Pittsburgh...
What do you know? It's another quarterback-intensive mailbag. At least there's some food for thought now after backup Matt Cassel played well in the Minnesota Vikings' first win of the season.But Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier's stance that Christian Ponder is "still our quarterback" had the fans up in arms.
Without further ado, here's another round...
It was unknown whether sitting quarterback Christian Ponder (ribs) would improve a stymied passing attack but backup quarterback Matt Cassel's command was one of many reasons the Minnesota Vikings outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers' late-game comeback to hold on for the 34-27 win on Sunday in London.
On 2nd-and-10 with 3:29 left Cassel appeared to check into a pass play...
Can't Knock the Cassel
Oh man ... There was a moment in the game with about two minutes left where I was certain we were going to hit that 0-4 mark. I thought FOR SURE we were going to let another team drive it down our throats with little time left on the clock for us to respond, and we were going to hit that 0-4 mark. We were going to be well on our way to that top draft...
The 2013 season was basically going to be over for one of the two teams being featured in London Sunday for the NFL's International Series. The Minnesota Vikings hope they resuscitated their season with Sunday's 34-27 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Minnesota is 1-3 thanks to a late-game play on defense, ball security and efficiency from quarterback Matt Cassel. Pittsburgh...
Leslie Frazier appears willing to stick with his rotation of young cornerbacks without making any drastic changes, even as he admits there have been struggles that the film confirms.
Replacing the injured Christian Ponder, Cassel pushed the ball downfield for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His teammates were loving it and played very hard for him. “You could tell guys were buying into it,” said running back Adrian Peterson, per WCCO-TV, but coach Leslie Frazier swatted down the idea of a permanent […]
Today one of the best author’s ever died in a Baltimore Hospital at the age of 66. Back in 1998, Tom Clancy who is best known for his books “The Hunt of Red October, and Clear and Present Danger” almost purchased the Minnesota Vikings. Clancy submitted the winning bid to purchase the Minnesota Vikings in […]
Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson endorsed backup quarterback Matt Cassel as the permanent starter after Cassel led the team to a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. This endorsement came in an after-game interview, officially stirring a quarterback controversy in Minnesota. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE »