May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) poses for photos with his jersey after being selected as the number thirty-two overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Minnesota Vikings at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater Should Get Fair Shot to Win Starting Job

 

The Vikings quarterback depth chart today reads as follows:

1. Matt Cassel

2. Teddy Bridgewater

3. Christian Ponder

I think everyone assumes this to be the case – regardless of what conversations might have gone on internally with Ponder.

But if the Vikings are smart, even that depth chart will be written in pencil rather than carved in stone.

If the Vikings know what’s good for them and the future of the franchise, they will give Teddy Bridgewater a fair shot to win the starting QB job in training camp this year.

I’m not going to make any predictions about what would happen in a straight-up no-baloney competition between Bridgewater and Matt Cassel, because I don’t know really how far along Bridgewater is in his development, how fast he can pick up Norv Turner’s offense, how quickly he can develop chemistry with his receivers…all that stuff.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

But here’s what I do know: Matt Cassel is not a great quarterback. He is at best an okay quarterback.

He wasn’t brought back to be great, he was brought back to provide a viable veteran option in the event the Vikings’ QB plans did not come together as expected.

As it turns out, the Vikings were able to land a QB in the first round. Teddy Bridgewater may not have been their first choice – the Johnny Manziel trade story demonstrates that – but he was at least considered a legit #2 option.

They liked him enough to move back into the first to get him, so it’s not a stretch to think they see him as a guy who can play sooner rather than later.

Of course, having Cassel around means you don’t have to rush Bridgewater. You can let him develop at his proper pace.

That pace might be slow, or it might be quick. It’s up to Bridgewater.

I think the best course for the Vikings is to have a totally open mind about the situation and not give anyone any assurances going into camp.

Don’t promise Matt Cassel the starting job, and don’t tell Bridgewater he can’t be the starter.

Go into it like Pete Carroll did when Matt Flynn was supposed to be Seattle’s starter and Russell Wilson was a rookie. And Wilson took the starting job away from Flynn in fair competition.

It’s possible that Cassel flat out beats Bridgewater in camp, in which case Cassel should be the starter. But if Bridgewater picks up the offense quickly and shows that he deserves to be the #1 right away?

Then he should be the #1.

Bridgewater is the future, Matt Cassel isn’t. The sooner you can get Bridgewater in there learning the position as a starter, the better for the organization.

The Vikings should approach it this way: Get Teddy in there as soon as reasonably possible, without hurrying the process artificially.

Just be fair and open and let the best man win. That’s always the right approach.

Oh, and where does Christian Ponder fit in all this?

Who cares?

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