Craig: Cassel confident in remaining Vikings' No. 1 QB

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 13, 2014 - 11:05 AM

Teammates appreciate that trait; they want a QB who is poised under pressure.

There are times when you want to spin Matt Cassel around and check for the pull string that would explain why he sounds more like a 6-4 Ken Doll than a competitive athlete who has seized control of the Vikings quarterback competition heading into Week 2 of the preseason.

“You know how it is at quarterback,” left guard Charlie Johnson said. “They have to say all the right things.”

Usually, reporters come away from Cassel with empty notebooks and a fuller appreciation of Brett Favre’s loose lips. But there are times when Cassel will offer a sentence that comes subtly wrapped in the kind of unwavering confidence that teammates are looking for, at least until rookie first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater fills himself with enough know­ledge and experience to reach his high potential.

For Cassel, it’s a confidence that stops comfortably short of cockiness or unattractive one-upmanship directed at a teammate.

“It’s something all of us respect in Matt,” Johnson said. “You want the guy who is going to be polite and respectful, but also has a way of saying he’s in charge.”

Cassel did that on Aug. 2 following a night practice at training camp in Mankato. He was asked how it had felt to watch Bridgewater take all of the first-team reps in the team red zone segment that night.

“That’s normally what happens wherever I’ve been,” Cassel said. “The No. 2 guy, you’ve got to get him ready to play. He’s going to get reps with the 1s and this is the time of year to do it.”

Cassel’s grip on the No. 1 job was strengthened with a crisp performance in the Vikings’ 10-6 preseason-opening victory over the Raiders on Friday. Playing just one 10-play series at TCF Bank Stadium, Cassel completed five of six passes to four targets for 62 of the 70 yards the offense marched en route to a touchdown.

“To be honest with you,” Johnson said, “it felt like a practice.”

Bridgewater also played 10 snaps with the first team, but fell understandably short of the efficiency level reached by a 10-year veteran. A procedural penalty and a red-zone sack were among the reminders that patience is needed while watching rookie quarterbacks.

Afterward, Cassel was complimentary of Bridge­water, but he also made it clear that he expects to play more than 10 reps when the next preseason game arrives on Saturday.

“It’s a new system,” he said. “The more reps I get, the more comfortable I’ll be when the season starts.”

Bridgewater said he senses that Cassel has embraced a mentoring role in his development.

“I’d say the relationship with Matt is a veteran-rookie relationship,” Bridgewater said. “He’s one of those vets who has his best intentions for the team.”

It must be difficult to help the person who probably has more natural talent and is earmarked to replace you at a yet-to-be-determined point over the next 12 months. Right, Matt?

“Competition is competition,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’re teammates.”

Then came that subtle confidence.

“If I play well,” he said, “the rest of it takes care of itself.”


    7:30 p.m. Saturday • TCF Bank Stadium •

    TV:  Ch. 11 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Memphis 97 FINAL
Indiana 89
Cleveland 114 FINAL
Chicago 108
Philadelphia 81 FINAL
Milwaukee 93
Portland 94 FINAL
Sacramento 103
San Antonio 89 FINAL
Phoenix 94
LA Clippers 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 111
Toronto 4 FINAL
Columbus 1
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
Anaheim 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 1
Nashville 3 FINAL
Calgary 4
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
Tulsa 20 FINAL
Memphis 40
Air Force 10:30 AM
ULM 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11:00 AM
Maryland 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11:00 AM
Rice 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11:00 AM
UCF 11:00 AM
Boston College 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Washington 12:00 PM
Central Mich 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Western Ky 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 2:00 PM
Virginia 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 2:30 PM
Florida 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 3:00 PM
Kansas 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 4:00 PM
South Alabama 4:00 PM
New Mexico 4:30 PM
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 6:00 PM
Colorado State 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Wyoming 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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 NoonX19-13 ot
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




question of the day

Poll: How has Mike Zimmer done so far as Vikings coach?

Weekly Question