Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings sign quarterback Matt Cassel

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: March 14, 2013 - 3:09 PM


Apparently, you weren't the only one disgusted with Joe Webb's performance in the Vikings' wild-card playoff loss at Green Bay.

It is indeed confirmed that the Vikings have signed quarterback Matt Cassel, the former Chiefs starter and long-ago Tom Brady backup in New England.

Cassel is an eight-year veteran with 62 career starts. He's been the starter in Kansas City the past five years. The year before that, he started 15 games for the Patriots after Brady went down with a knee injury in the season opener.

So he's got the experience that Webb didn't have. And we know he can throw better than Joe since Matt's best season came in 2010 when he passed for 3,116 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Now, the question becomes can he truly accept being Christian Ponder's backup. Not just when times are good, but when times are bad and every purple-painted fan is demanding that Cassel becomes the starter. (Note: That's probably already started, by the way).

Both General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier have made it perfectly clear that Ponder is and will remain the starter now and in the future. Frazier even said at the scouting combine that one of the prerequisites for any potential QB signee would be the full understanding that the starting job is not -- repeat, IS NOT! -- open for competition.

The Vikings definitely improved their backup quarterback situation for when Ponder isn't healthy enough to play. The question now is can they deal with the pressure that will come when Ponder is healthy but ineffective.

This ... could ... get ... really ... interesting.

As for Webb, we'll have to hear from the Vikings before speculating on his future. He would seem to be a prime candidate to be a No. 3 QB. In that role, he could actually put his speed and athleticism on the field in some capacity without fear of him getting hurt. 

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