The Minnesota Vikings quarterback competition began as an even battle between veteran Matt Cassel and touted rookie Teddy Bridgewater with Christian Ponder on the outside looking in, but it seems to have turned into a situation where Cassel is the clear leader. Bridgewater didn’t play as poorly as his preseason stats indicated, but he was hardly impressive and reportedly took some steps back in practice by struggling with interceptions. Bridgewater’s accuracy and decision-making were strengths in college, so maybe he just needs to get more comfortable to the speed of the NFL.
Either way, Cassel looks like the safer bet at this point, and the NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that the Vikings plan on playing Bridgewater with the second team in practice tomorrow. Per Breer, this isn’t a reflection of any disappointment with Bridgewater’s play (though some will certainly wonder if that’s a factor), but rather a desire to take a closer look at Cassel with the first team before making a final decision.
The new regime could benefit from seeing Cassel play with the first team some more, though I’m not sure more reps with the first team is a necessity for them. I still have full faith in Bridgewater as a top starting quarterback in this league, but it’s starting to look like the Vikings want to move forward with Cassel as their starter. Bridgewater still has some time left to make an impression and turn things around, because he isn’t that far behind the curve and his preseason struggles were exaggerated. That said, I wonder if the Vikings were already leaning towards starting Cassel anyway, even as writers such as myself were banging the drums for Bridgewater. At this point, there’s no reason to believe that the Vikings won’t make the right decision, though it would be a surprise for them to pick Bridgewater if the competition ended today. That said, there’s still time left.