After the Vikings signed free agent quarterback Josh Freeman, previous starter Matt Cassel knew that his time as the starting quarterback was limited. When asked by the Pioneer Press on Thursday if he believed that Freeman was going to start on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, this is what he said:
“Probably. I believe so,” Cassel said.
Against the Steelers in week 4, Matt Cassel stepped in to start for an injured Christian Ponder. He had a pretty good game that week. He didn’t turn the ball over and threw 2 touchdown passes. But in his next game against Carolina, Cassel didn’t look as good. In that contest, he threw two interceptions in a blowout loss that was embarrassing to the team.
On Wednesday, Freeman was named the starter. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier made that announcement to the media and said that Freeman’s workout and practice being impressive was what made the call easy to make.
Despite that, Cassel knew that it was going to be a competition and the team was going to be making the move to Freeman eventually:
“With the situation being what it is, when you bring in a guy like that, he even made it very clear in the team meeting that they were going to take a good, strong look at Josh whenever that time might be,” Cassel said. “A week ago Wednesday, it was made very clear to the whole team that there was going be competition, that they were going to take a big, strong look at him.”
Not only is Cassel no longer the starter, but a healthy Christian Ponder has been named Freeman’s backup. To go from the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback to being regulated to third string in the matter of a week has to be frustrating for a veteran of Cassel’s tenure. Although Cassel seems disappointed, he seems to understand the move:
“Obviously, it wasn’t anything that I anticipated,” Cassel said. “But at the same time, I’ve been around this league long enough to know that from one week to the next, things change. Obviously, they felt that it was the right decision. Whether or not you agree with it, you move forward, and you have to be professional about it and support his decision.”
Either way, the Vikings will have Josh Freeman behind center on the big stage of Monday Night Football. This is Freeman’s opportunity to show that the failures he was having in Tampa Bay were not his fault and he can still be a productive quarterback in today’s NFL.