The Free Press, Mankato, MN


August 12, 2013

Vikings Cassel just looking to improve

Veteran is playing with 6th coordinator in last 5 seasons

MANKATO — Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has made it clear on numerous occasions that the team signed veteran quarterback Matt Cassel during the offseason to be Christian Ponder's backup and not to challenge for the starting job.

After one preseason game and more than two weeks of training camp, that's about the way things seem to be playing out.

The Vikings lost to the Houston Texans on Friday and starter Ponder was in for only one series. Although one of his two pass attempts was intercepted, his brief stint behind center really didn't give coaches much to evaluate.

Cassel played most of the first half and, by his own critique, did some good things and some not so good things. He finished 12 of 19 for 212 yards with one interception and one touchdown pass.

"There were a lot of good things out there on Friday night," he said. "We moved the ball but obviously we want to eliminate the turnover.

"That's why we play these preseason games. It was our first time out there in live action and it gave us a chance to get into the rhythm of the game."

Cassel didn't really expect to set the world on fire in the preseason opener but he's definitely starting to feel more comfortable.

"I had five different coordinators in the last four years at Kansas City and now I have a new one here in Minnesota. It's a new experience but my job is to adapt quickly and to get in synch with this offense as fast as I can."

The Vikings learned the hard way last season that the No. 2 quarterback on the team can't be an afterthought. When Ponder was unable to play because of an arm injury in the wild card playoff game, an unproven Joe Webb was summoned to replace him.

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