If it feels as though the Vikings QB situation hasn't truly been settled for several weeks, well ... you're right. We were so curious about it that we did something we've been meaning to do for a while: we went back in the Star Tribune electronic archives and looked at head coach Leslie Frazier's comments starting before the Vikings' fourth game against the Steelers until now. The look-back is rather revealing:
“I don’t foresee a quarterback controversy.” – Frazier, days before the Steelers game, after it was determined Matt Cassel would start in place of the injured Christian Ponder, who had gone 0-3 in starting the first three games of the season.
“It makes it a little bit easier for the play caller when you can put together some drives and finish those drives.” – Frazier, complimenting Cassel’s performance against the Steelers, the Vikings’ first win of the season.
Christian Ponder “is still our starting quarterback.” – Frazier, in the week after the Steelers game. Following a bye week, he said, “We’ll talk more about it as the week goes on, but we’re not at a point, without watching the guys practice, where we can make a determination about who our starter is going to be. Ponder ended up sitting out with a rib injury and Cassel started in a 35-10 loss against Carolina. Keep in mind that Josh Freeman was brought in during all of this.
“From the moment he stepped in the building, he wanted to learn. And the way he handled himself in that practice, it changed my mind-set about the possibilities.” – Frazier, a few days after the Carolina loss, in announcing Freeman would start against the New York Giants.
“I don’t know if I’ve thought that far ahead. I really haven’t.” – Frazier, when asked about his long-term starting QB, the day after the Giants game, though it seemed certain that Freeman would start against the Packers based on Frazier’s other comments.
“We need to get Christian ready to go.” – Frazier, the very next day, after the Vikings said Freeman suffered a previously undisclosed concussion against the Giants. Ponder ended up starting against the Packers in a lopsided loss.
“Christian gives us the best chance to win and that’s how we’re going to approach it. Now there may come a point where you have to make a decision for different reasons, but we’re in a position right now where it’s purely based on who gives us the best chance to win.” – Frazier, in naming Ponder the starter for the second consecutive week, this time vs. Dallas.
Ponder also started the next week against Washington, a foregone conclusion since it was a Thursday game. The Vikings won, but Ponder left the game with an injury to his left shoulder.
“We know exactly what’s going on, now it’s a matter of how fast he heals and how much strength he gains in the next few days.” – Frazier on whether Ponder’s injury would allow him to play against Seattle. He ended up starting Sunday, but was benched for poor play in favor of Matt Cassel.
Monday: Frazier said he hasn’t made a decision on who will start Sunday against the Packers but that all three quarterbacks are healthy enough to play.
We're not sure what happened to Ponder's ability to give the Vikings "the best chance to win," Cassel's ability to "finish those drives" or how much Freeman "wanted to learn" in the past several weeks, but as usual we look forward to a (temporary) resolution to the QB conundrum.