2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Cassel ready to backup Ponder in Minnesota

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI - AP Sports Writer
    2013-03-15 18:07

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Matt Cassel is signed, sealed and delivered in Minnesota, and there is no question what his role will be with the Vikings.

``The fact of the matter is,'' Cassel said in a conference call on Friday, ``Christian is the starting quarterback.''

When Cassel agreed to terms on Thursday, there was speculation that he was coming in to compete with third-year starter Christian Ponder for the No. 1 job. But Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman stand firmly behind Ponder, who has been up and down in his first two seasons. So they went into this offseason in search of a quality veteran who would accept his role, but also be able to handle the offense capably if Ponder were to go down with injury or fail to progress as he is expected.

Cassel appears to fit the mold. He was a career backup in college at Southern Cal then spent his first three seasons in the NFL buried on the bench behind Tom Brady. When Brady went down with a knee injury in 2008, Cassel stepped in and led the Patriots to an 11-5 record.

``I think I understand the role completely, without a doubt,'' Cassel said. ``At the same time, both being a starter and a backup, your preparation, what you do on a daily basis, doesn't change.''

It was a whirlwind courtship. Cassel was released on Thursday, got on a plane to Minnesota and agreed to terms on a deal by late Thursday afternoon. After making the Pro Bowl with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his second season in Kansas City in 2010, Cassel and the Chiefs struggled the next two years. He threw six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games last season for the 2-14 Chiefs, who cut him with two years left on his contract.

``It was a long year. There's no doubt about it,'' Cassel said. ``Anytime a team goes 2-14 there's a lot of things you'd like to change and a lot of things you'd like to fix.''

Cassel worked out with Ponder in Los Angeles last summer and the two have already talked on the phone about being teammates.

``I think we'll have a great (meeting) room,'' Cassel said. ``I'm there to add value. I'm there to help him out in whatever capacity that is, and go from there.''

He said all the right things on Friday, but there it's hard to imagine that he would have jumped so quickly at this opportunity if he didn't see a chance for him to eventually get a chance to play and re-establish himself as a starting-caliber quarterback. Ponder has a history of injuries, both in college and his first two seasons in the NFL, including last season when he was unable to play in the playoff game against Green Bay because of an arm injury. That forced the Vikings to start backup Joe Webb, who faltered badly in the 24-10 loss.

Cassel no doubt will inspire much more confidence, both from the coaching staff and the rest of the offense, to be able to run coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense if need be.

``You have to be ready at a moment's notice,'' Cassel said.

He proved quick on his feet during his first day on the job when he ran into Packers free agent receiver Greg Jennings at Vikings headquarters. Jennings is in town discussing the possibility of joining the Vikings, where he would significantly bolster a thin receiver corps. Jennings had dinner with Vikings brass and star defensive end Jared Allen on Thursday night and spent all day Friday touring the team's facility and exchanging contract offers.

Cassel said he gave Jennings a big hug and told him ``to come on, be a Viking.''

``He's a heck of a player and everybody would have big smiles on their faces if he was here,'' Cassel said.

Did it work?

``I don't know,'' Cassel said. ``We'll see.''

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 07:53p

Free-agent RB Chris Johnson's (Titans) visit with the New York Jets reportedly went well Tuesday, April 15, but he left without a deal. Other teams are involved with him, too.

Rolando McClainApr 15 07:53p

The Baltimore Ravens worked out LB Rolando McClain, and it reportedly wasn't a success. McClain didn't finish his conditioning test and didn't perform drills.

Terrell ManningApr 15 05:43p

The Minnesota Vikings claimed LB Terrell Manning off waivers from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday, April 15.

Adam PodleshApr 15 05:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent P Adam Podlesh (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, April 15.

Allen ReisnerApr 15 03:53p

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday, April 15, that they've signed free-agent TE Allen Reisner (Jaguars) to an undisclosed deal.

Daniel KilgoreApr 15 03:23p

San Francisco 49ers OG Daniel Kilgore was found not guilty of public intoxication related to his arrest in January in Tennessee. His case was dismissed following his appearance in [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 15 02:23p

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal to re-sign QB Matt Flynn Tuesday, April 15, according to a source.

Dion JordanApr 15 01:53p

Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey is expecting big things from DE Dion Jordan in his second season this year. He's a very talented player and this is a [ More ]

Brandon LloydApr 15 01:33p

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent WR Brandon Lloyd (Patriots) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, April 15.

Chris JohnsonApr 15 12:23p

The Buffalo Bills have shown some interest in signing free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), according to sources.

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group