Monday, March 2, 2015
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christian ponder

With the Vikings hosting their mandatory minicamp this week, and media access for a portion of the event, there seems to be plenty of fresh content to pass along.  Also, there are a few new Vikings sites popping up, which is always great to see.

Go there.  Read it.  And tell them who sent ya.

 

Norv Turner made some waves with Vikings fans this week by essentially suggesting that Christian Ponder is a better NFL quarterback than he is given credit for and insisting he is in the mix for first team consideration.

I agree that the negative attention plaguing Ponder is perhaps out of proportion with his actual on-field failures, and that he may have done better as a newcomer under different circumstances or with another team, but there are very few that will believe Turner is actually considering Ponder as a potential week one starter.

Matt Cassel is pretty much the incumbent at this point and is taking the most first team repetitions.  Rookie Teddy Bridgewater looks to be the second team leader right now with the clear potential to push for the top spot.  That presumably leaves Ponder floundering about at the bottom of the depth chart with swirling trade rumors, speculation about being cut this year, and with no contractual stability.

16 games of football, and maybe even a post-season appearance, can change the way we look at the makeup of a roster and the value of an individual player.  With that being said, as I glance towards what drama might be in store for next offseason, Rick Spielman doesn’t appear to have many paramount decisions waiting for him on the horizon.

Most of the current players that are set to see their contracts expire after this season were signed (or re-signed) this offseason to one year deals.  The hope is that they will produce quite nicely and be worthy of another contract next offseason, but they really won’t be priorities until that production actually happens.

The excitement of free agency has yet to wear down, but the details of certain contracts are starting to be revealed.  Yesterday we looked at the hefty deal given to defensive end Everson Griffen and most of you thought it was worthy of an “A” or “B” grade.  Now we’re looking at the guy we had listed as the top Vikings free agent of the offseason (Griffen was number two).

Quarterback Matt Cassel had leverage the minute he voided the second and final year of his contract with the Vikings.  It was arguably impossible for the Vikings to find a free agent better than Cassel and Christian Ponder was the only quarterback left on the roster.  Thus, he was able to gain more money and slightly more long-term security by doing so.

Cassel, who had a hand in each of the Vikings wins from last season, remains with the team under a new two year deal worth up to $10.5 million.  According to Spotrac, Cassel’s deal $5.65 million in guarantees and he will a $5.75 million cap hit this season.  The Vikings could cut ties next season with minimal impact to the cap situation.

Cassel still isn’t any sort of long-term franchise quarterback at 31 years old, but Rick Spielman would have been totally hanging his neck out there if he went into May’s Draft with Christian Ponder as his only viable option at the league’s most important position.  The Cassel signing gives the Vikings a playable quarterback, a trustworthy veteran mentor, and some much needed flexibility in the Draft.

Adam’s Grade:  A

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