Through three weeks, the Minnesota Vikings seemingly had no hope as they dropped to 0-3. The offense was being led by a quarterback whose QBR was a measly 43.1 after three games. Then, they met the also 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers in London during week four and everything looked to change.
Christian Ponder sat out due to a rib injury, therefore backup Matt Cassel got the start. Not only did Cassel play a good game, he very well could have been the reason the Vikings won the game.
Completing 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, Cassel jumpstarted an offense that needed a passer like him desperately; not necessarily an elite quarterback, but one that could make some of the most simple throws in the game — which Ponder cannot do on a regular basis.
Cassel also ended without an interception, which Ponder has totaled five of thus far. Monday, head coach Leslie Frazier was asked about a so-called quarterback controversy in Minnesota in which he responded:
“Our quarterback is Christian Ponder,” according to ESPN.
Even running back Adrian Peterson seemed to like what he saw from Cassel.
“You could see guys were buying into it,” Peterson said. “It’s going to be tough for (coaches), it’s a good thing we have a bye week coming up. I’m going to do my job, let coaches sort things out.”
For Frazier to continue to label Ponder as their starter is complete stupidity. I have a feeling once he hears it from the fans and gets the sense that the players also want Cassel, he’ll change his mind. But, up until this point, Frazier has been nothing but loyal to Ponder — something very irritating to most fans.
After only four weeks, the Vikings are no where near out of the race for the playoffs. If Cassel continued to play well for them, assuming he got the start, Frazier would be labeled a genius for making the move so early. But, if Ponder continues to start, the Vikings could drop to the bottom of the food chain very quickly and Frazier could be out of a job.