Cassel focused on team, not his situation

Matt Cassel has found himself continually in an awkward situation with the quarterback situation. He has the most experience but doesn't seem to be part of the starting discussion and yet he is almost always the active backup. He talked about his focus now in the midst of a strange season for the quarterback corps.

When it comes to the Vikings quarterback corps, the only thing that has been consistent is that they prefer to have Matt Cassel as their backup quarterback.

It can be argued that Cassel has been the most consistent of a wildly inconsistent group of quarterbacks. Yet, he seems to be the odd man out in just about every starting scenario you can lay out. Either the Vikings go down with Christian Ponder captaining the sinking ship or you see what potential Josh Freeman brings to the table. No matter how you slice it, it seems the starting-job checker jumps past Cassel.

How does the NFL QB with the most career starts of the group (64) always seem to be the low man on the totem pole?

"You just handle it from day to day," Cassel said. "You go out there, you work hard and you get prepared. You never know when you're going to play, whether it's a situation like it was today where it got out of hand or like last week where I've got to go in in the fourth quarter and, hopefully, we put some drives together. You just have to always be ready. Is it a difficult job? I'd say yeah, because I think starting is a lot easier mentally, because you do the rollercoaster of emotions throughout the game. But at the same time, I just keep my head down and keep pushing forward."

Ponder was a primary reason why the game got out of hand Sunday. He had three turnovers (two interceptions and a lost fumble). Seattle converted those into 17 points. In his only game as a Viking, Freeman completed just 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a brutal passer rating of 40.6.

Neither Ponder nor Freeman has shown enough to earn the starting job. But, at the same time, Ponder is the franchise quarterback of the present and some feel Freeman could be the QB of the future. Where does that leave Cassel? Even against an oppressive defense, does Ponder's performance and Freeman's inaction help Cassel's cause?

"I really have no idea," Cassel said. "(Leslie Frazier) is going to have to address that issue. You never know what is going to happen. Christian has been playing good football. Obviously (Sunday), that's one of the best football teams in terms of a defensive team that we'll play against all year. It's one of the best defensive teams I've seen in a long time. So we've got to rally, we've got to play better collectively, not just at one position. We've got to play better across the board. We've got a division game coming up and hopefully we can get everything together and get on the right track."

So what is Cassel's role in the decision-making process coming, as Frazier hinted would happen, when the coaching staff meets today to discuss who gives the Vikings the best chance to win against Green Bay next Sunday.

Does Cassel expect to be part of that discussion? Does he figure into the long-term plan?

"I'm not even thinking about that right now," Cassel said. "I know that we've still got however many games left and right now I'm sold out to this team. I'm going to give it my all and then we'll make those decisions in the off-season."


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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