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 roster analysis: Quarterback

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Quarterbacks, Vikings Updated: February 11, 2014 - 9:58 AM

We'll take a daily look at where the Vikings' roster stands at the moment position-by-position leading up to our NFL Combine coverage next week.

Position: Quarterback

On the roster: Christian Ponder

Free agents: Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman

We start this series with the biggest need on the team. The Vikings shuffled through three quarterbacks, including one they acquired in October (Freeman), and finished 23rd in pass offense averaging 214.2 yards a game. The offense as a whole averaged four more total yards per game (344.3) than the Broncos’ record breaking pass offense (340.3).

Cassel exercised his right to opt out and become a free agent last week, which leaves Ponder as the only quarterback on the roster. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, general manager Rick Spielman and offensive coordinator Norv Turner all have said they’re open to the possibility of bringing Cassel back.

Ponder will enter the final year of his rookie deal next season. Even as inconsistent as he’s been during his career, it might be wise for the Vikings to keep Ponder. Cassel should draw interest from a few teams given the weak crop of free agent quarterbacks and the number of teams that need a quarterback this offseason. Not every quarterback in the draft will be ready to start in Week 1, which is where Cassel, Ponder and even Freeman can serve as temporary quarterbacks. All have plenty of experience as starters but likely won’t be considered as long-term solutions at the position.

Plus if the franchise did get rid of Ponder, the move wouldn’t create cap space. He’s on the books for $3.2 million next season and all of it is dead money, meaning it would count against the cap regardless.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has already said the team feels it needs a young quarterback in the offseason. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he’s seen 10 quarterbacks, in person and on tape, so far but expects to lean on Turner’s expertise. With Turner’s experience as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, it’s a good thing to have him in the room to assess quarterbacks in an important offseason for the franchise.

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta - LP: D. Carpenter 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: M. Melancon 3
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Huff 2
Arizona - LP: E. Marshall 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
LA Angels 7 Top 9th Inning
Boston 3
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Cincinnati 0 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 5
San Francisco 8 Top 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Baltimore 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Chicago WSox 3
Cleveland 4 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 0
Kansas City 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Colorado 5
San Diego 3 Bottom 2nd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 3 2nd Half 20:00
Colorado 3
San Jose 0 1st Half 17:00
Seattle 0
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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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 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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