Hartman: Cassel ready to help, challenge Ponder

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2013 - 7:38 AM

The Vikings’ new backup quarterback is enthusiastic about his role and preparing to play if he’s needed.

hide

Vikings OTA's organized team activities. Vikings qurterbacks Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder go through the motions at practice.

The Vikings’ quarterback situation could be interesting this season, with the club having a solid backup in Matt Cassel. If Christian Ponder doesn’t produce, the fans will be clamoring for a change, as they always do.

It’s not like last season when the backup was Joe Webb, who is now playing wide receiver and certainly didn’t have Cassel’s quarterbacking experience.

The eyes of the fans visiting training camp in Mankato will certainly be on the newly signed backup.

Recently I visited with Cassel and he talked about how excited he is to be with the Vikings.

“The team has embraced me,” he said. “We have a wonderful group of guys. We’ve all been out there working hard and the coaching staff has been outstanding. Right now I’m just trying to get acclimated and learn the system and have fun doing it.”

Cassel had to be surprised when Kansas City let him go March 14. He signed the same day with the Vikings.

“That’s sometimes how it goes,” said Cassel, who went 19-28 in four seasons with the Chiefs. He led Kansas City into the playoffs in 2010, going 10-5 in 15 starts, and was named to the Pro Bowl. “We didn’t win enough football games and I know that’s part of the business. I wish them the best of luck. I had a great time there, my children were born there. I had a good experience. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get it done on the football field, but hopefully that changes here in Minnesota.”

Cassel’s first break in the NFL came with New England in 2008 when quarterback Tom Brady was hurt in the first game of the season. Cassel became the starter and led the team to a 10-5 record, throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns.

“It was an unbelievable year because it was completely unexpected,” Cassel said. “We came off that year of going 18-1 [in 2007] and then Tommy went down in the first game. Normally any time I saw Tom ever get hit he was always getting up, and unfortunately he didn’t get up that time. But it gave me the opportunity to go in and prove that I could play and it was quite a year for us.”

Kansas City was looking for a quarterback and gave up a second-round pick to get Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel in February 2009. The Patriots had given their franchise tag to Cassel following the 2008 season.

Met Ponder before

Cassel and Ponder met before Cassel signed with the Vikings.

“I’ve known Christian, I met him the previous offseason before I was here,” Cassel said. “He’s a great guy and a heck of a quarterback and I’m happy to be working with him.”

How hard will it be for Cassel to be a backup when he has been a starter for the past four seasons?

“It’s a role I’ve been in before,” Cassel said. “And no matter whether I’m a backup or a starter in this league, I’ve done my best to be the same guy. My routine is the same: Compete and at the same time prepare, and you always have to be prepared to go into the game at the drop of a hat.

“I’ll try to [help Ponder]. He’s a young player that continues to get better each and every game he plays and he’s an exciting player. He can throw the ball and he also has the ability to run the ball really well. It has been fun to play with him and build that relationship, and it will be a fun time to work with him this year.”

Twins stars struggle

This has been reported here before, but while the Twins have posted a 43-55 record through 98 games this year — a slight improvement from their 40-58 mark from last year — one of the big reasons the team hasn’t been able to show greater improvement and consistency is because three of the better players aren’t performing as well as a year ago.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close