Sunday, April 19, 2015
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matt cassel

The Vikings were without their top two running backs, their most productive offensive lineman this season, and their starting cornerback duo.  As if the odds weren’t stacked enough against them, Minnesota had to play the potent offense of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, so expectations were minimal as fans filed into the Metrodome.

The Vikings, however, had no-names show up big on their way to a 48-30 beatdown of the Eagles.  Here are ten things I noticed about the game:

1.  NFL Network reported prior to the game that Matt Cassel would remain with the Vikings into 2014.  The understanding is that both Cassel and the Vikings have the option to void the second year of his contract following the season, so I was surprised to see such a concrete report come across the TV.  Cassel then proceeded to have one of the best games of his career.  He finished 26 of 35 for 382 yards and two touchdowns.  He threw one interception and took three sacks, but for the most part he was sharp and poised on his way to a 116.6 quarterback rating.  He also ran for 19 yards and another score.  These are the types of games we just never saw out of Christian Ponder and it is no wonder that Cassel’s future with the franchise suddenly looks far brighter than Ponder’s.  Jennings had never before, in his entire career, caught 11 passes in one game.

2.  Greg Jennings continued to show that he can better reward the Vikings for their investment when Cassel is at the helm.  His best game as a Vikings so far came to the tune of 13 targets, 11 catches, 163 yards, and a touchdown.  Jennings continues to be precise with his route running and the main difference lately seems to be that he now has a quarterback willing and able to take advantage of his talents.

Don’t forget, during today’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, we here at VT will be hosting a discussion all game long on our Chat Page.  Join us if you can!

The Vikings inactives for this game are:  CB Josh Robinson, DT Chase Baker, G Jeff Baca, TE Kyle Rudolph, QB Christian Ponder, WR Rodney Smith, and T Mike Remmers.

With Ponder inactive due to the concussion suffered last week, Matt Cassel will get the start under center and Josh Freeman will act as the primary backup.  Both Chris Cook and Erin Henderson are expected to start today, with Henderson moving to the weak side spot and Cook reeling from an awful performance against the Bears that ended with an ejection.

The Vikings are fairly healthy and preparing to do battle with a team that has perhaps been even more disappointing this season than Minnesota has been.  It should be an interesting game with plenty of individuals to keep an eye on as we get closer and closer to the 2014 offseason.

With Christian Ponder yet to pass the concussion tests required for him to suit up, and Josh Freeman still mysteriously riding the bench, the Vikings sound as if they’ll ride the hot hand of Matt Cassel for at least another week.

The weekly quarterback updates this season have been almost as tiring as all of the losses, but it is still important to note that Cassel will get the nod against Baltimore this week.  As of now, Leslie Frazier acknowledged that Cassel will start and Freeman will back him up, but qualified his statements by saying that could change should Ponder make quick progress.

“More than likely, Matt Cassel is going to end up being our starter for this ballgame,” Frazier said. “We’ll proceed accordingly, with Josh (Freeman) as his backup, understanding where Christian is, in trying to pass those tests. … It’ll probably be tough (for Ponder). If he were able to practice (Thursday), maybe — but we’re not planning on it.”

By pretty much every unit of measurement, Cassel has been the Vikings most successful quarterback this season, and for a coach who desperately needs to accumulate some wins it seems like the most logical choice by a long shot.

Kyle Rudolph TD Carolina
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Finding a positive word to write after the Vikings were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday is a daunting task, even for an optimist like me.

My mother taught me; if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

Well, I can’t just leave this blog blank, can I? No, I need to find a ray of light in this dark Vikings’ cellar I am stuck in. It’s a deep, damp hole for sure, but I do see a glimmer of light shining down on the Vikings’ 6-foot-6 TE, Kyle Rudolph.

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The Vikings are set to host Carolina this afternoon and I want to remind everyone interested to join us for a Live Chat during the action.

The inactives for today include recently acquired quarterback Josh Freeman, as Matt Cassel will remain the starter, with Christian Ponder playing the role of backup.

The other inactives today are:  Safety Mistral Raymond, Linebacker Gerald Hodges, Linebacker Audie Cole, Defensive Tackle Chase Baker, Defensive End Justin Trattou, and Guard Jeff Baca.

The Vikings are much healthier coming out of the bye and Chris Cook will be welcomed back into this struggling secondary as they prepare to face Cam Newton.

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