It’s been an odd couple of weeks for the Minnesota Vikings and their quarterbacks. It all started with a fractured rib in Christian Ponder‘s chest, it got stranger with Matt Cassel‘s solid performance in London and then just flat out bizarre with the signing of free agent Josh Freeman. In a matter of just over two weeks, this team has gone from standing firmly behind Ponder, to now basically having an open three-man competition.
So who is the odd man out in all of this?
For now, we know that Freeman will not start in week six against the Carolina Panthers. This means that either Ponder or Cassel will get the nod. Ponder has finally returned to practice, but giving the start to Cassel is the right call.
Cassel led this team to its only win in week four and looked pretty good doing it. Several veteran players, including Adrian Peterson, have said that they like his command of the huddle and leadership on the field. Cassel doesn’t have the greatest track record as a starting QB, but for now, he’s the best option in Minnesota. The Vikings should put the ball in his hands Sunday against the Panthers and if he continues to play well, they need to ride his hot hand as far as it can take them.
At the same time, it’s clear that the coaching staff wants to give Freeman a shot behind center (or they wouldn’t have signed him mid-season). So given that fact, Cassel’s leash will be very short. He won’t have much room for error and if he gives the coaches any reason at all to pull him, they will.
I say the Vikings should be Cassel’s team until he shows signs of reverting back to his old self. If that starts to happen, it’s going to be Freeman-time in the Twin Cities.