Christian Ponder will be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings even though Matt Cassel has signed the team, coach Leslie Frazier said.
The Vikings coach said he’s been working with Ponder in the offseason and let the team’s 2012 starter know that he’ll be under center again in 2013.
“Christian Ponder is our starting quarterback. Matt knows that, he knew it when we went through the acquisition,” Frazier said in the interview with the NFL Network.
“[Cassel] knows that he’s coming in to provide insurance for us. If something were to happen to Christian injury-wise, we have a quality backup that can step in and do a great job for us,” Frazier added. “Christian just needs to continue to improve like we all expect him to, but he’s our starting quarterback.”
The Vikings signed Cassel for a one-year, $4 million contract with Minnesota after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs. That immediately led to speculation that Cassel was brought in to compete with — and ultimately uneat — Christian Ponder as the team’s starter.
Cassel has failed to reach the heights of his 2008 season, when he took over for an injured Tom Brady in Week 1 and led the New England Patriots to an 11-5 record. He was traded to Kansas City the next season, and despite making the Pro Bowl in 2010, he and the Chiefs have struggled.
In 2012 Cassel threw six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games.
It my not matter whether Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel is the starter for the Vikings. Last year running back Adrian Peterson led an otherwise mediocre team to the playoffs on the strength of a 2,000-plus yard rushing season, good for No. 2 all time.
Being named starter could be a boost of confidence for the second-year Christian Ponder, who at the end of the season tied the knot with ESPN reporter Samantha Steele.