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Friday (Five things about Matt Cassel) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: September 27, 2013 - 10:22 AM

Well, it's official. Christian Ponder is out with a fractured rib and Matt Cassel is the Sunday starter. Those who have been clamoring for this -- or at least, er, pondering it -- have likely been focused more on Ponder's deficiencies than what Cassel might (or might not) bring to the table. We admit to being in that group, and as such we did some brushing up on Cassel today in an attempt to gain a few answers. Here are five things we found interesting:

1) At his best, he can be very good: In 2010, arguably Cassel's best season (27 TDs, 7 INTs, led KC to the playoffs and was chosen for the Pro Bowl) Cassel had seven games out of 15 total starts in which his passer rating was 100 or higher. In twice as many career games, Christian Ponder has six games with a passer rating of 100 or higher.

2) At his worst, he can be very bad: Cassel seems to play up or down to the season in which he is in. The Chiefs were dreadful in 2012, and so was he. Cassel never registered a passer rating above 85.1 in any of his nine games, and the Chiefs were 1-8 in that span.

3) He is a better scrambler than we realized: Cassel averages about 4 yards per rush and had a season in which he ran for 270 yards. That doesn't make him Randall Cunningham or Daunte Culpepper, but 270 is more than Ponder or Tarvaris Jackson, QBs we might think of as more "athletic," have ever rushed for in a season.

4) He is a less accurate passer than we realized: Cassel flourished in the New England offense in 2008, completing 63.4 percent of his passes and enticing the Chiefs to make a play for him. But he never completed more than 60 percent of his passes in any season with the Chiefs. Maybe it was a system thing and he'll be more accurate with the Vikings, but anyone expecting an immediate upgrade over the often erratic Ponder should at least wait and see.

5) He is the fourth Vikings QB to wear No. 16: Rich Gannon also wore it from 1987-92, while Norm Snead (1971) and Hal Chealander (1974) also did. #themoreyouknow.

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