Sunday, March 1, 2015
Blog Page 135

 A fractured rib will sideline Christian Ponder on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. Matt Cassel will get his first start for the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings as he takes on his former head coach Todd Haley who is now an assistant with the Steelers.

 Cassel is still considered the “backup” to Ponder… but a good performance could land him an extended opportunity to lead the Vikings after next week’s bye week.

 Cassel has started three times against the Steelers in his career. He has thrown for 571 yards, two touchdowns, three picks, completed under 50% of his attempts and has a 60.5 passer rating during those games.

 Those stats look very Ponderish to me, so I guess I will just keep my optimism to myself and hope for the best. Let’s just say I have my fingers crossed that a Vikings’ wide reciever will finally catch a touchdown pass.

 Go Vikings!

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, friend and former teammate of Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, may have accidentally broke some inside news.

According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Brady was talking about his former backup quarterbacks, Cassel and current Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, in general when he said the following:

“I’m friends with both those guys,” Brady said. “Matt Cassel, who may be starting this weekend. Brian, I text back and forth.”

It was discovered Wednesday that Vikings starter Christian Ponder has injured ribs from  last week’s loss and was limited in practice. Cassel got more repetitions in practice while Ponder rested.

“If I can’t fulfill my duties, then Matt’s going to step in and play,” Ponder said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

Head coach Leslie Frazier wouldn’t comment much on the subject, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

“We want to see how Christian does today,” Frazier said. The coach said he hasn’t necessarily started game-planning for backup Matt Cassel, but wouldn’t really have to alter the game plan if Cassel is the starter.

Meanwhile, Cassel says Ponder looked just fine.

“He looked like Christian,” Cassel said. “He looked great, and he was throwing the ball fine.”

Yeah.

There is some fishy business here. Remember last year’s Wild Card game? Ponder’s injury was revealed early in the week leading up to the game, but the team was coy about the injury and was vague leading up to the game. The team had both comments of optimism and vagueness on different occasions in their comments to the press. They did not reveal that Ponder would not play until minutes before the game. But looking back, there was no way he was going to play in that game, based on the severity of the bruise on his throwing arm.

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With plenty of blame to go around in the Vikings’ disappointing 0-3 start, fans are calling for a change at quarterback.

For those at Mall of America Field on Sunday afternoon, fans were heard chanting for backup quarterback Matt Cassel at various moments of the game—including the final play when quarterback Christian Ponder was sacked to end the game.

Ponder is reportedly on a much shorter leash than people think, but head coach Leslie Frazier said after the game that he doesn’t foresee making a switch at quarterback after he watches film from the game.

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The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Cleveland Browns… and their third string quarterback… after they traded away Trent Richardson.  And the loss came AT HOME.  If you want to save yourself some money, see if DirecTV will let you cancel your Sunday Ticket subscription this week and find something different to do on Sunday’s.

Speaking of giving up, I think there is some very real traction this week for those that really feel Leslie Frazier and his staff should be dismissed.  There may need to be a total cleaning of the house to see a real change to how things are run in Minnesota, but Frazier’s staff is certainly not getting things done.

We’ll talk more about the game in greater detail soon, but for now I recommend getting that DirecTV rep on the phone and using some strong mouth wash.  This bad taste isn’t going away for awhile.

Today, I fully expect our Vikings to give those of us in our VT Live Chat some hope by thoroughly thumping the Cleveland Browns.

If they do it they will be doing it without the following inactives:  QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, TE Rhett Ellison, S Mistral Raymond, LBGerald Hodges, G Jeff Baca, DT Chase Baker, and DE George Johnson.

The list provides some interesting things to note.

First, Zach Line will get an even bigger opportunity to shine with Jerome Felton serving the final week of his suspension, and Ellison now dealing with an injury.  It wouldn’t be a total shocker to see Line waived when Felton returns, but he might continue to prove himself at the NFL level with a big day lead blocking for Adrian Peterson today.

Also, rookie linebacker Michael Mauti will make his first NFL appearance today after an injury-riddled college career, which is a fun and triumphant storyline to follow as this season wears on.  If he can stay healthy for a full year, then he might end up being a starter for the Vikings in the not-so-distant future, despite his status as a seventh round selection.

Enjoy the game, everybody, I’m looking forward to seeing some clear improvement this week.

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