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Matt Cassel, left, will start the season opener, with first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater backing him up.

Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

Rand: Will Vikings' QB carnival ride end?

  • Article by: Michael Rand
  • Star Tribune
  • August 26, 2014 - 6:40 AM

Matt Cassel was named the Vikings’ starting quarterback for Week 1, meaning it is a near-certainty Teddy Bridgewater plays at some point this season. Why’s that? Well, it’s the NFL. And more specifically, it’s the Vikings, as the past decade has shown:

2005: This was the start of the great QB shuffle in Minnesota. Daunte Culpepper started the first seven games before tearing up his knee in Carolina. Brad Johnson started the final nine, somehow guiding the Vikings to a 9-7 record after a 2-5 start. (Seriously, Mike Tice should get a lot of credit for that year). If not for that injury, Culpepper MIGHT STILL BE the Vikings’ starting QB. You realize he’s the same age as Tom Brady, right? And he was coming off one of the best seasons for a QB ever in 2004?

2006: Johnson started the first 14 games of Brad Childress’ initial season before giving way to rookie second-round pick Tarvaris Jackson for the final two. T-Jack was, shall we say, overmatched.

2007: Jackson was the Week 1 starter and held the post for 12 games in all. But Kelly Holcomb(!) came in off the street to start three games, while Brooks Bollinger also started one.

2008: Jackson was the Week 1 starter, but by Week 3 he had been replaced by Gus Frerotte. From there, it was pretty much anyone’s guess as to who would start from week to week. That said, the Vikings did manage to win 10 games and make the playoffs.

2009: THE YEAR OF FAVRE.

2010: The second year of Favre. The gunslinger started 13 games before breaking down. Jackson started one and Joe Webb two. Understatement: This was not as successful as the first year of Favre.

2011: When your children ask you who started the first six games of this season, you look them square in the eye and don’t sugarcoat it. You just say, “Sweetie, it was Donovan McNabb. And there’s nothing we can do about it now.” And then make sure to remind those youngsters that Christian Ponder took over and everyone was really excited because he was a rookie and he couldn’t possibly be worse than McNabb.

2012: THE YEAR OF PONDER. Perhaps more aptly named THE YEAR OF PETERSON, Ponder game-managed the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth while Adrian Peterson unleashed a fury on opponents we might never see again in our lifetimes. But let’s not forget: Webb started the playoff game because Ponder was hurt.

2013: It couldn’t get crazier, right? WRONG. Ponder started the season, lost his job to Cassel, then Josh Freeman came in and started a game … wait, hold up, what? Yes, Freeman came in midseason! Remember? Then it was back to the Ponder and Cassel carousel. Let’s never speak of that again, even as we remember that the Week 1 starter for the Vikings is rarely the starter for the whole year.

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