Coach Leslie Frazier introduced a new drill at the Vikings’ voluntary workouts last week. It’s called two-huddle and used primarily at the college level. In the drill, the first- and second-team offenses line up near midfield. The two units run plays toward opposite end zones, one immediately after the other. The drill is designed to squeeze in extra snaps to maximize practice time. The pace is harried and, as reporters also witnessed, occasionally a mess. In one rapid-fire sequence, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel threw interceptions that left the defense woofing with delight. Had it not been one drill in a harmless OTA in early June, Frazier might have required a dose of antacid. But those mistakes served to remind that, even in a mundane summer workout, the quarterback quandary continues to hover as the Vikings attempt to discern whether Ponder can be entrusted as a long-term solution at that position. That question was supposed to be answered last season. The well-worn narrative didn’t play out that way though, because Ponder’s collective performance reflected too many extremes to draw concrete conclusions. He was alternately awful and outstanding, and often times stuck in between. More safe than good or bad. In theory, this upcoming season represents an ultimate yes-or-no test for Ponder and his future in Minnesota. But as that situation plays out, the Vikings now have a legitimate alternative in Cassel — at least in the short term — in the event that Ponder encounters another game or stretch that makes fans pine for someone else. The offseason acquisition of a competent veteran backup gives Frazier an option, if needed. The Vikings have done everything short of renting billboards to let everyone know the pecking order. Ponder is the starter, Cassel the backup, nothing to see here. Cassel knows the drill. He’s been both starter and backup. He’s played well at times and fallen out of favor with an organization. He’s prepared for anything.
Cassel's arrival gives Ponder competition, Vikings insurance
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jun 11