By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Mankato, MN - Quarterback battles are nothing new for the Minnesota Vikings. Much like the state fair and leaves falling off the trees, questions surrounding the Vikings quarterback position are simply a sign of the turning seasons. Seemingly every year it's the same thing.
Since Fran Tarkenton retired in 1978, the Minnesota Vikings have only had a starting quarterback return and start for four straight seasons two times (Tommy Kramer 1979-1982, Daunte Culpepper 2000-2004). All-in-all, over the past thirty seasons in Minnesota Vikings football TWENTY FIVE different quarterbacks have started at the quarterback position. That's not exactly a track record of success.
So you can understand why many have been clamoring early for rookie Teddy Bridgewater to win the job and change the course of thirty years of futility.
But has the decision already been made to go another route?
By all accounts, including my own, Teddy Bridgewater has looked pretty good down here in Mankato. We've seen him make all the throws needed at the NFL level, we've seen his mobility shine as an asset against the competition and we've seen him start to build rapport with a handful of impactful receivers. But we've also seen him hold on to the football too long, make poor decisions and look like a rookie out there. That's not to say that he did poorly last Friday, in fact offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he was very pleased with Teddy's performance.
"Teddy showed a lot of things that you need to be a quarterback in this league," Turner explained on Monday. "He was quick with the ball, he made good decisions...he is very elusive."
All of those things are great, but may not be good enough for Teddy to earn the start for week one's game against the St. Louis Rams. Even before going in to last Friday's game, it appears as if the Vikings were operating under the same assumption. They've been saying the right things, claiming that it's an open quarterback competition, but the delegation of snaps on Friday says something completely different.
If the starting spot truly were up in the air, and Teddy had as much of a chance to start the opener as Matt Cassel, wouldn't the snaps have been a little more even on Friday night? You know, to pin one quarterback up against the other and create an even audition. As it played out though, Cassel got 10 snaps and Teddy finished his day with 36.
I'm not sure about you, but to me that looks like the behavior of a team that has already made their mind up, at least for games early in the season. Protect your starter, get your backup some extra work and move on.
Add in the fact that Matt Cassel went 5 for 6 passing for 62 yards and led the first team offense to a touchdown compared to Teddy's mediocre night and it's becoming more and more clear to me that Matt Cassel will be the Minnesota Vikings week one starter in 2014.
Sure, you could argue and ask me how many other backup quarterbacks across the league got to see action with the rest of the first team? Valid point, to which I would say this.
While it is my belief that the decision for week one has already been made...that doesn't mean that the coaching staff wouldn't like Teddy to eventually take over the reigns. Even if he doesn't take over the reigns, they want to be sure that he will be a viable back up quarterback if Cassel were to go down with an injury.
There's no question that Matt Cassel is not the Vikings answer to the aforementioned franchise quarterback drought. If the solution is on roster, it solely is in the form of Teddy Bridgewater. Still, the Vikings coaches are not paid to win three years from now, they were brought in to turn this team around and win as soon as possible.
As it stands right now, Matt Cassel gives them the best chance to do that. Will that be the case all season long? That remains to be seen.
Teddy has a chance, but he will legitimately have to beat out Cassel before he gets it.