The Vikings' quarterback situation is just starting to take shape and is likely to experience ebbs and flows throughout the coming months, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner said no determination has been made on how reps will be split in training camp.
For now, it's clear that Matt Cassel is the front-runner for the starting spot and that Teddy Bridgewater is the new developmental quarterback who was getting more reps than Christian Ponder in the practice open to the media last week.
Still, how the reps among the three quarterbacks are split now is not necessarily how they will be handled when training camp opens on July 25.
"I think it's something that Coach (Mike) Zimmer and I will sit down and talk about when we get to that point, when we get to camp. Right now I think it's gone really good," Turner said of the quarterback reps. "Teddy missed two days because of the Rookie Premiere. That gave Christian a chance to get a lot of reps and obviously Matt needs a lot of reps. Right now, there's enough opportunities in the way we practice. And then obviously when we get to camp we're going to have to clearly define that."
Although he has been getting the vast majority of the first-team reps during the veteran minicamp and organized team activities to date, Cassel is assuming nothing. He realizes he still needs to prove himself whether he is the frontrunner or not.
At every level in the NFL, there is competition looming.
"In my entire career, I've had to battle for a position," Cassel said. "It started when I was a seventh-round draft pick coming into New England. It's no different. Every single year I take the same approach. You just have to be ready to go out there and compete. When you're in it, it makes it all the more fulfilling. I feel good about where I'm at. These guys are kind of coming out and competing and pushing me every day and I'll do the same for them."
Ponder said recently that he has been getting some first-team reps, especially when Bridgewater was attending the Rookie Premiere in California, but so far it appears Bridgewater is getting the chance to earn the No. 2 spot at least.
Last year, under the previous coaching staff, Ponder started the first three games of the season, was benched in favor of Cassel, who was then benched in favor of Josh Freeman, who is currently unemployed in the NFL. Ponder was given another chance and started the next six games before being benched again in favor of Cassel. The final starting tally: Ponder nine games, Cassel six and Freeman one.
All that changing around could create tension among the quarterback group, but Cassel said all is well in their meeting room between him, Ponder and newcomer Bridgewater.
"I think we have a great relationship. Our room is a great room. I've said this many times before, but a lot of people don't realize how much time you spend in the room with those guys throughout the course of the year. It's important to have a good room, supporting each other," he said. "At the end of the day, we're all trying to be the best that we can be, but we're not trying to compete against each other in terms of being shady and not telling somebody this type of information. … It's our job to get prepared and ready to play. But at the end of the day, I don't hold ill will or grudges toward anybody that's going to come in and try to compete with me. That's just how it is."
Turner said there is a sense of urgency about the installation of the offense right now as they try to get as much accomplished as possible before a five-week break between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp. The offensive coordinator said all the quarterbacks have a good understanding of what the coaching staff is trying to accomplish.
But once training camp hits, a plan will be in place for the quarterback pecking order and it apparently includes one quarterback getting more reps than the other two.
"There's a lot of opportunities for guys to get reps when we go to camp. Ultimately, you've got to get one guy ready to play and you've got to get two guys enough reps so they keep developing, getting better," Turner said. "We're a long ways away from having to make that decision."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Turner discusses training camp QB reps
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