Scoggins: Cassel plays like the veteran he is, Bridgewater like a rookie

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 9, 2014 - 1:00 AM
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Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel passes the ball to running back Matt Asiata in the first quarter.

Photo: Mark Vancleave, DML - Star Tribune

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Teddy Bridgewater hadn’t even taken a snap in his first NFL preseason game Friday night when he received a hero’s welcome from a Vikings fan base starved for a savior at quarterback.

Ted-dy! Ted-dy! Ted-dy!

Hey, no pressure, kid.

“I was so tuned into the game that I couldn’t hear anything that was going on around me,” he said.

If the Vikings quarterback competition was a popularity contest, Matt Cassel wouldn’t win if he handed out free drink coupons at the stadium entrance while promoting peace and love.

Alas, fans hoping to see Bridgewater light up his NFL debut like a bonfire and take a Usain Bolt lead in the quarterback competition were forced to show some patience.

Bridgewater received his baptism as a pro, but Cassel bolstered his case to be the starter as the Vikings opened their preseason schedule with a 10-6 victory over Oakland at TCF Bank Stadium.

In other words, nothing that transpired came as a huge surprise. Cassel looked like a veteran, Bridgewater like a rookie.

“At this point, I feel very comfortable with the offensive scheme,” Cassel said.

Preseason openers usually provide as much excitement as a yawn, but the Vikings quarterback competition and Bridgewater’s debut delivered a measure of intrigue.

From the start of training camp, the competition has felt legitimately open-ended, to the point that preseason games were advertised as critical in deciphering the pecking order.

Cassel got the edge in Round 1.

Playing only the opening series, Cassel completed five of six passes for 62 yards in guiding the first-team offense to a touchdown. He connected with three different receivers on passes that covered at least 13 yards.

Bridgewater replaced Cassel on the second series and received a warm ovation as he jogged onto the field. Fans started a “Ted-dy” cheer.

“They should be excited about Teddy,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “They’re going to cheer about him for a long, long time.”

He will have better nights than his first one. Penalty flags flew on four of Bridgewater’s first five plays. Later, he was stripped on a sack in the red zone. He finished 6-for-13 passing for 49 yards with two sacks in almost two quarters of play.

“I felt like it went pretty good,” he said. “There were some missed opportunities. I’ll be able to come back next week and play more aggressive.”

One preseason game shouldn’t cause an overreaction to any development, but Cassel remains the safe bet to open the season as the starter. And that’s not a bad thing.

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Miami 4 Top 9th Inning
Washington 6
NY Yankees - LP: C. Martin 1 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 3
Philadelphia 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Atlanta 1
Tampa Bay 5 Bottom 7th Inning
Boston 1
Los Angeles 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Chicago Cubs 7 Bottom 4th Inning
St. Louis 4
Oakland 4 Bottom 4th Inning
Minnesota 4
Texas 0 Top 7th Inning
Houston 1
Arizona 0 Delayed
Colorado 0
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker
San Diego - T. Ross 9:15 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
Chicago 99 FINAL
Cleveland 92
LA Clippers 0 1st Qtr 11:01
Houston 0
NY Rangers 0 3rd Prd 11:50
Washington 1
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