Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer may have tipped his hand regarding where the team will start the season at quarterback, saying Monday that it will still be veteran Matt Cassel and not rookie Teddy Bridgewater who starts Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling via Twitter:
Cassel will start on Saturday; Bridgewater could see time with first team, but Zimmer didn’t say for sure.
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) August 18, 2014
Cassel has been solid for Minnesota through two weeks of the preseason, completing 17-of-22 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. Bridgewater, however, rallied the Vikings to two late scores in a come-from-behind win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
Traditionally, the next-to-last week of the preseason serves as a sort of dress rehearsal for the regular season and is a game in which the starters will normally see their most playing time of the preseason.
Bridgewater has been pretty good, too, in Norv Turner’s offensive system, completing 22-of-33 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He has taken three sacks to just one for Cassel.
Lost in the mix is former first-round pick Christian Ponder, who did not play Saturday against the Cardinals and was just 3-for-7 for 39 yards in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah speculated Sunday that Ponder would be a good fit for a team struggling to find a good backup.
Christian Ponder would be a huge upgrade as the 49ers backup QB. It will be interesting to see what MIN does with him. — Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) August 17, 2014
Cassel assumed the starting duties for the final four games last season, with the Vikings going 2-2 in those contests, and he started twice in place of an injured Ponder early in the season.
Cassel threw for 1,807 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions last year, while Ponder had 1,658 yards and seven touchdowns with nine picks in nine starts.
Josh Freeman, still unsigned as a free agent, made one disastrous start in a Monday night loss to the New York Giants.