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."



Kansas City - J. Guthrie 5:10 PM
Cleveland - T. Bauer
Toronto - D. Hutchison 5:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Chicago WSox 0 Postponed
Baltimore 0
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Whitley
Washington - A. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
NY Mets - R. Montero 6:10 PM
Miami - D. Phelps
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Seattle - J. Happ 7:05 PM
Texas - R. Detwiler
Detroit - A. Sanchez 7:10 PM
Minnesota - M. Pelfrey
Philadelphia - S. Gonzalez 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
Colorado - K. Kendrick 8:40 PM
Arizona - A. Bradley
LA Angels - J. Weaver 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Houston - R. Hernandez 9:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Dallas 7:00 PM
San Antonio 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
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