Rolling on in our countdown of the top 25 Vikings of 2014, the man at #15…
QB Matt Cassel
What the Vikings needed most of all last year was stability at the quarterback position, a guy to come in and provide leadership and solid play behind center, and at least give you the feeling that the offense was going to be competently run the majority of the time. A guy like Matt Cassel.
For some reason, the Vikings refused to hand the team over to Cassel early in the year when it became apparent Christian Ponder was not doing the job. Rick Spielman instead turned to Josh Freeman, who only compounded the already vexing quarterback issue.
What if instead of diddling with Ponder and experimenting with Freeman, the Vikings had just turned the team over to Cassel? Would the Vikings have contended for the playoffs? Probably not. Their defense would have still been terrible. But Spielman would have saved himself a lot of embarrassment, and Zygi Wilf those millions that were given to Freeman for nothing.
When Cassel was given a chance to play, he showed that he could run the offense better than Christian Ponder ever did. For brief flashes with Cassel at the helm, Bill Musgrave‘s scheme looked like a viable pro scheme. Greg Jennings looked like the old Greg Jennings. The Vikings looked like a competent operation.
Cassel did enough to earn a chance to come back in 2014 and be the starter-of-the-moment until the future QB is ready to take over. Teddy Bridgewater is the future QB, and he will likely get his chance soon. In the meantime, the Vikings know they have Cassel to lean on. A guy who brings leadership, calming presence, and overall competence to the position.
And that sounds like a good deal after three years of Ponder-ous quarterback play in Minnesota.