Vikings QB Christian Ponder, who led the team to the playoffs in 2012, has to prove he can be the starter as he battles veteran Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
The Minnesota Vikings head into training camp with the NFL’s only three-way battle for the starting QB position. The team has been in a state of flux at the position since Brett Favre was injured in 2010, starting 7 different QBs since his injury.
Now the team has three players vying for the chance to start for the rebuilding Vikings under new head coach Mike Zimmer and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
Christian Ponder – The longest tenured QB in this competition, Ponder was drafted 12th overall in 2011 but went 2-8 as a rookie after the team benched Donovan McNabb. In 2012 he led the team to the playoffs with a 10-6 record. However a bad start in 2013 led to his benching and he ended the year with a 2-6-1 record.
Matt Cassel – The oldest and arguably most successful QB of the competition. Cassel broke out with a 10-5 record as the Patriots’ starter in 2008. After being traded to Kansas City he went to his first Pro Bowl in 2010, leading the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 2006. After a bad 2012, Cassel was cut and started 6 games for the Vikings in 2013, going 3-3 in the process.
Teddy Bridgewater – The rookie first round draft pick drafted 32nd overall in the 2014 draft. Bridgewater was a star at Louisville, winning the 2013 Sugar Bowl against the Florida Gators and setting multiple school records. He appeared to be the top prospect in the 2014 draft, but his stock dropped and he had to wait until the Vikings traded up into the end of the 1st round to be drafted.
Who Is The Frontrunner?
Cassel – With the most experience and the most proven success among the 3 QBs on the Vikings, Cassel has a leg up in the competition as the Vikings let Bridgewater learn from the sidelines and prepare for a possible future without Ponder.
Who Has The Most Potential?
Bridgewater – Despite a bad pro day showing before the draft, Bridgewater was still seen by many as a top QB. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner recently went so far as to call him a Top 10 player in the 2014 draft, making it seem like Bridgewater has the highest ceiling out of the Vikings QBs.
Odd Man Out:
Ponder – Two losing records and inconsistent play make it look like Ponder’s time in Minnesota may be coming to a close. The Bridgewater pick might mean it will come sooner rather than later, but the Vikings will either keep him on as insurance in case Cassel is hurt or Bridgewater can’t play, or even as a trade tool for a team in desperate need of a QB.
Cassel wins. Bridgewater becomes backup. Ponder #3. The Vikings proved by drafting Bridgewater in the 1st round that they are not afraid to move on from Ponder, but they don’t want to throw him into the fire too quickly in a tough division. Cassel seems like the QB with the experience to both win some games and teach the Vikings’ top QBs as they sit and learn.