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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Is new Viking Matt Cassel one of the NFL's top back-up quarterbacks?

Posted by: Updated: June 7, 2013 - 12:33 PM

Yep, it's early June and we're already so deep down the NFL storyline list that we're engaging in discussions about standout back-up quarterbacks. Which means the conversations about upcoming quarterback controversies can't be far behind.

This morning on the NFL Network's "NFL AM" program, analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Jamie Dukes assembled his top five list for best back-up QBs.

New Viking Matt Cassel? He checked in at No. 3 on Dukes' list. Said Dukes: "Here's my criteria for back-ups: They're guys who can win you games. But they can't consistently win you games."

Here's the list in full:

5. Matt Hasselbeck -- in Indianapolis behind Andrew Luck

4. Kyle Orton -- in Dallas behind Tony Romo

3. Cassel -- with the Vikings behind Christian Ponder

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick -- in Tennessee behind Jake Locker 

1. Mark Sanchez -- in New York behind ... well, there's no designated starter so ... Geno Smith? 

Here's what Dukes had to say about Cassel: "Ironically, he was also the back-up of one Tom Brady. And he got that little chance to go to Kansas City and take all their money. And that was good for him and his family. But the reality is this is where he belongs -- as a back-up. But I will tell you this though. I would not be surprised ... You mention Christian Ponder. With what they have in Minnesota, if Christian Ponder doesn't show that he's making strides, I would not be surprised to see this back-up once again get a [starting] job. Only to have them draft somebody else. Because again, I don't think he's a long-term solution. But Matt Cassel is a quality back-up in this league."



Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 11
Milwaukee - WP: Y. Gallardo 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Price 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 4
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 3
Oakland - LP: J. Hammel 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 8
Pittsburgh 5 Bottom 4th Inning
San Francisco 4
LA Angels - G. Richards 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:08 PM
Detroit - M. Scherzer
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:10 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Colorado - B. Anderson 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
Atlanta - A. Wood 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
St. Louis - J. Kelly 9:10 PM
San Diego - J. Hahn
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Colorado 6:30 PM
New England
Vancouver FC 7:30 PM
Red Bull New York 8:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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