Cassel replaces Ponder as Vikings QB, but for how long?

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 28, 2013 - 12:33 AM

The struggling starter might sit longer if Matt Cassel shines.

 

– Wearing a baseball cap and sweatpants, Christian Ponder reached down to move a bag of footballs so Matt Cassel would have room to warm up before Friday’s practice at the Grove Hotel, about an hour outside of London.

What had been speculated since Wednesday had come to fruition. Ponder will have no more effect on Sunday’s game against the Steelers than one of the team’s ball boys. He will be inactive because of a fractured rib that’s too near his heart to risk having him get hit, Ponder and coach Leslie Frazier explained on Friday.

“It stinks,” Ponder said. “But I’ll be back for Carolina,” the Vikings’ next game after next week’s bye.

But will he?

Medically speaking, that shouldn’t be a problem. Ponder said doctors have told him with rest and treatment, he should be healed in about 10 days from when he suffered the injury, in last week’s loss to the Browns.

Football-wise? Well, that’s to be determined Sunday when Cassel makes his Vikings debut in a battle of two desperate 0-3 teams at Wembley Stadium.

“We really haven’t talked about that,” Ponder said when asked if he’s been told he’ll return as the starter once he’s healthy.

If Cassel jump-starts a 24th-ranked passing attack that has no touchdowns from a wide receiver, Frazier could go with the hot hand, as many teams, including last year’s NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, do.

Frazier’s concerns don’t extend beyond Sunday. He’s too busy trying to save a season and possibly his coaching career in Minnesota.

“I don’t foresee a quarterback controversy,” said Frazier, whose team faces the only defense in the league without a takeaway. “But we want [Cassel] to play lights-out, want him to have the best game of his NFL career on Sunday.”

Past struggles

If Cassel plays like he did in his final 17 starts in Kansas City — 5-12 with 28 turnovers — the Vikings probably will be 0-4 for the second time in three seasons. They also would have a full-blown mess on their hands because of Ponder’s struggles and a No. 3 quarterback, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who is raw and has yet to play in a regular-season game.

“I hope [Cassel] plays well,” Ponder said. “This team needs him to play well. I think he will play well.”

Cassel said he’s not looking ahead because of the urgency of facing 0-4.

“For us,” he said, “it’s really a one-game season.”

Signing Cassel to replace Joe Webb in the offseason gave the Vikings a veteran with 62 starts (29-33) and someone who wouldn’t require a different game plan for everyone to learn. Those were two things several teammates pointed to after being told Friday morning that Ponder wouldn’t play.

Receiver Jarius Wright said Cassel is more assertive in the huddle, which comes with experience. From a passing standpoint, Wright said, “I really don’t see too much difference.”

  • related content

  • Souhan: Diehard London sports fan: There's room for NFL overseas

    Saturday September 28, 2013

    One pub patron’s view: “This is quite a big city.”

  • His love for Vikings is transatlantic; he finally gets a home game

    Saturday September 28, 2013

    Englishman Geoff Reader has been a Vikings season-ticket holder for years and flies to Minneapolis to attend games at the Metrodome.

  • Like Vikings, Steelers are desperate for victory

    Saturday September 28, 2013

    After two losses, holdovers from the 2008 Super Bowl team insisted younger players get more serious.

  • Snapshot look at the Vikings for Sunday's game

    Saturday September 28, 2013

    With two starters injured and ruled out, Harrison Smith will be the undisputed strong link in the Vikings secondary.

  • Christian Ponder bided his time with quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson during practice Friday. Ponder did not participate in practice and won’t play Sunday against Pittsburgh in Wembley Stadium.

  • tower becomes vikings’ domain Vikings defensive back Chris Cook jumped into a photo of teammates as they posed in front of a Vikings logo projection during a team outing to the Tower of London. Related photos, C7

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 4
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 3
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 6
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 11 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bergman 3
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 6
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Philadelphia - LP: J. Williams 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 1
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close