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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Tags: Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater

  • guest

    Having someone like Norv Turner come on board will make the biggest difference in my opinion. Although he has a big task in bringing along the rookie QB, it was nearly impossible for Bill Musgrave to do that with Christian Ponder when he was drafted. Ponder may have already been limited in what he can do, but Musgrave certainly didn’t do him any favors in developing him.

    The last thing the team needs now is another nightmare scenario where you’re starting QB (McNabb) can’t perform, and your young backup (Ponder) comes in the game to get destroyed. Norv Turner won’t let that happen with Matt Cassel & Teddy Bridgewater.

  • Bob E.

    Exactly. If he is ready, he is ready. Bridgewater’s comfort in the pocket, his ability to go through his progressions and his savvy against the blitz is already outstanding. Long as we don’t rush it, let him come along at his own pace and when he’s ready, let’s win some games. SKOL!

  • Amanda Hutchison

    I wish everyone would stop making Christian Ponder the scapegoat for a puss poor receiving core in 2012 and a terrible defense in 2013. He’s not that bad. Caseload is okay, but he’s not better than Ponder. I hope Teddy Bridgewater isn’t treated the same and labeled an ineffective quarterback because the Vikings fail to acknowledge shortcomings in other portions of their team.

    • kyle

      Cassel is a journeyman quarterback but is still better than Ponder. Ponder is garbage. Has problems reading defenses, low arm strength, has accuracy issues. Yes, our receivers didn’t help in 2012 or our defense in 2013, but Ponder hasn’t shown anything to the Vikings or fans that he’s the answer at quarterback. Like it or not, the quarterback gets the blame for losses and credit for wins. If the defense fails, it’s the quarterback’s job to pick the team up. Ponder can’t do that. Bridgewater came in injured in college, put the team on his back and got a victory. Ponder didn’t show any of that even in his college career.

    • andrewk11

      anyone who says ponder isn’t horrible doesn’t watch the Vikings play. Simple as that.