November 25, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) watches on the sidelines in the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. The Broncos won 17-9. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Sign Matt Cassel to One-Year Deal

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Rick Spielman won’t make the same mistake in 2013 that he made in 2012. He won’t send his team into the fray this year without a proper backup QB. On Thursday the Vikes got themselvse a legit #2, signing former Chiefs and Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel. The reported one year deal is worth $4 million.

The Cassel signing happened relatively quickly. The Chiefs cut him early Thursday and by mid-day he was reportedly headed to the Vikings. That’s fast work for Rick Spielman who normally takes things slow. That gives you the feeling that moving on from Joe Webb was a big priority this week. They didn’t want to wait and miss out on Cassel.

Cassel as we remember rose to prominence in relief of Tom Brady when the great QB was injured for New England. Bill Belichick turned around and traded Cassel to the Chiefs who installed him as their starter. He didn’t play terribly in Kansas City but neither did he turn into the top-of-the-line QB they expected him to become when they made the trade.

Kansas City went off the ledge in 2012 and they decided to clean house. Alex Smith was brought in as QB and Cassel became expendable  The Vikings reportedly were interested in several backup QB options including Drew Stanton and Tyler Thigpen. But as soon as word got out that Cassel would become available, he went straight to the top of the speculation list. In this case the speculation was correct.

Cassel is certainly no potential franchise QB. He’s clearly the #2 in Minnesota. Christian Ponder is the starter. Cassel comes in with that understanding I’m sure. However, I’m guessing Cassel also realizes that Ponder himself has question marks. So maybe in the back of Cassel’s mind he has the idea that he can ultimately snag that starting job for himself.

I’m certainly not predicting that Cassel will end up starting in Minnesota. But, at the same time, there’s no question the QB dynamic has changed. Last year when Ponder struggled in the middle of the season, there was no real notion that he would be benched. No one seriously believed that Leslie Frazier would sit him for Joe Webb. So Ponder had all the leeway in the world. But with Cassel on the team, Frazier now has a viable option if Ponder doesn’t play well. And fans have someone legit to call for if Ponder can’t get it done.

Maybe this will motivate Ponder to play better. Or maybe motivation isn’t his problem.

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