When the Kansas City Chiefs released Matt Cassel in March, it was literally just hours before he had a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. He was brought in to compete with Christian Ponder for the starting gig and will take over for the struggling quarterback Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Wembley Stadium.
Despite the trouble Ponder has had over the first three weeks of the season, it’s an injury and not poor performance that prompted the move to Cassel.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier announced Ponder is dealing with a fractured rib. The injury happened early in the second quarter of last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
In moving quickly to get Cassel onto the team this offseason, the Vikings gave him a two-year deal averaging four million a year. Frazier talked to the media this week about why he’s so high on Cassel.
“The fact that he had had success as a starter, leading Kansas City to the playoffs [in 2010],” Frazier said, according to the Star Tribune. “[He] played behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback in New England so he understood what it means to prepare as a backup.”
Now he’ll have to perform after an overseas trip against the third best pass defense in the NFL. The Steelers also have Cassel’s former head coach Todd Haley on the sidelines, something that will give the Pittsburgh defense a great sounding board for how to prepare for the veteran.