Matt Cassel Beats out Teddy Bridgewater for Vikings' Starting Quarterback Job

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2014

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Teddy Bridgewater will have to wait a little longer to get his shot at being a starting NFL quarterback.

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Minnesota Vikings have decided Matt Cassel will get the start in Week 1 while the rookie remains on the bench:

The Vikings later confirmed the news:

After a successful career at Louisville, Bridgewater went through a disastrous stretch before the draft and saw his stock slip significantly. He fell to the last pick in the first round before the Vikings traded up to grab him.

Despite this, Minnesota offensive coordinator Norv Turner admitted that his team got a steal.

"I think he probably should've gone in the first 10 picks. He probably should've gone at least in the first half of the first round, and then we're sitting there with an opportunity to get him when we did, it was a bonus to me," he explained on the team's official sitevia Chris Wesseling of

The only problem was the challenge of cracking the starting lineup with more experienced players at the position. According to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune, head coach Mike Zimmer already had a favorite going into camp:

That Zimmer sided with a veteran out of the gate should have come as no surprise. After all, from 2008 to 2010, Cassel averaged over 3,200 passing yards per season, and he was selected for the 2010 Pro Bowl after guiding the Kansas City Chiefs to their first winning record since 2006. He's fallen off since then, to be sure, but experience is a valuable thing for a rebuilding team.

This competition is not something Bridgewater wanted to discuss early in training camp, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today:

As ESPN's Ben Goessling points out, the quarterback was simply working hard to earn his place:

Tom Pelissero of USA Today provided one veteran player's take on the decision:

This is exactly what coaches love to see from young players looking to earn their roles on a squad. 

Although Bridgewater will not start the team's opening game against the St. Louis Rams, it likely will not be too long before he ends up on the field for the Vikings. He has tons of pure talent with the composure to be successful early in his career.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 16: Matt Cassel #16 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of the preseason game on August 16, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/G
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

If he can get better acclimated with the playbook as he continues to improve physically, the first-year passer has a good chance of starting by the middle of the season. 

Meanwhile, Cassel will have the opportunity to showcase his ability after an up-and-down past few years in the league. While he is likely just holding a place for Bridgewater, he can still prove valuable for an NFL team, as he showed in preseason Week 2 when he went 12-of-16 for 153 yards against the Arizona Cardinals.

No matter who is under center, Minnesota will hope to improve upon the 5-10-1 record from last season and get back into the playoffs.


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