Leslie Frazier says the Minnesota Vikings will go with the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win.
Still, the only Vikings quarterback with a win this season – Matt Cassel – isn't getting consideration as a starter this week, according to Frazier's comments on Monday.
Cassel is trying to take the high road in reaction to the situation.
"The situation is what it is. Unfortunately, I don't make the decisions. But at the same time Coach Frazier and whoever is making the decisions decided to go this direction and as a player you might not always agree with it, but you accept it and move forward and you continue to work hard," Cassel said after Wednesday's practice. "Like I said, you have a choice. When anytime adversity comes our way as players, we have a choice to feel sorry for ourselves and become a distraction or you can continue to work, be professional and do what you're paid to do. And that's my choice to continue to try to help this team win."
Cassel is 1-1 as a starter this year. Ponder is 0-4. Freeman is 0-1.
Cassel said he hasn't sat down with Frazier this week, but he heard about Frazier's comments that he isn't the mix to start Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
"When he made the decision to go with Josh (two weeks ago), he sat down with us and we had a good conversation. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what was said. But obviously we both had our opinions on it," Cassel said. "At the end of the day, he's the head coach, he makes the decisions. You accept that as a player and you try to move forward accordingly.
"You've got to handle it as a professional because, obviously, would I like the situation to be different? Of course I would. But at the same time I've been in this league long enough to understand that right now things are changing from week to week. All you do as a teammate is not be a distraction, help the guy that is playing, and do your best to try to get back on the field somehow."
Cassel is 31 years old. Freeman and Ponder are both 25.
Between Cassel's comment about "Coach Frazier and whoever is making the decisions" and the fact that the Vikings are 1-6, the logical conclusion is that general manager Rick Spielman and others in the organization would like to see what the future of the quarterback position holds.
"I don't really concentrate on that to be completely honest. I don't look at the situation like, ‘Why are they doing this? Why are they doing that?' If you try to answer those questions, a lot of times as a player you just get in your own head, you know what I mean?" Cassel said. "For me, all I can control is myself, and I know that's kind of cliché but at the same time I can just continue to come out here, work hard, give the guys a look and if my opportunity comes up again I'll be prepared and ready to go."
He may have gotten that chance if he would have been able to win two straight. In his first start for the Vikings, Cassel completed 64 percent of his passes for two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 123.4 passer rating. That was against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Against the Carolina Panthers following the bye, Cassel completed 72.7 percent of his throws, but he had one touchdown and two interceptions for a 74.1 rating.
Although Cassel said he doesn't get the sense his loss against Carolina was the reason for the move to Freeman the following week, he did say a win there would have helped his chances.
"If we would have played better, more consistently, there was a lot of good things that happened in that game. Obviously, two interceptions, any time you have two interceptions it has an impact on the game," he said. "That's our job as a quarterback to take care of the ball. I think if I could take back anything from that game, it obviously would be trying to pull that ball down on the first (interception), and on the second one as well."
Despite all indications that the Vikings could move forward with either Ponder or Freeman for the rest of the season, Cassel said he isn't interested in becoming strictly a mentor-type of quarterback.
"As a quarterback in this league, you can never view yourself as a backup guy or someone that's just going to fulfill a role because at any moment you can be on the field and be a starter," he said. "You have to approach it as a starter, you have to prepare like a starter. You might not get those reps, but I have been in both roles. I started for five years and now I'm in a backup role, but at the same time your mentality has to be the same because when you do get that opportunity and you do get that chance to step on the field, if you take that approach any other way, then you're going to slight yourself and also not be ready for your team."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Cassel trying not to question QB decision
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