Cassel will start, but competition ongoing

Matt Cassel will make the start in the Vikings' third preseason game, but Teddy Bridgewater could see some time with the starters.

After compiling a 122.4 passer rating in two preseason appearances, Matt Cassel will start the third preseason game for the Minnesota Vikings.

While Cassel appears to have a strong hold on the starting spot at the beginning of the regular season, head coach Mike Zimmer is holding off on any announcements. He said his date to make that announcement remains the same, but he isn’t revealing the date or the starter just yet.

Cassel has completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and one touchdown so far in the preseason.

Meanwhile, rookie Teddy Bridgewater is making a good push for the job after a great performance Saturday. Bridgewater led the Vikings on the game-winning touchdown, going 83 yards in seven plays and 53 seconds.

“He was calm, poised. You could tell he was kind of feeling it the whole way,” Zimmer said. “He was getting the ball out in the right places and getting the protections down. I think he’s feeling more comfortable. Like he’s told you, it’s better when he doesn’t overthink things and let the game go. We go out, practice hard and try to be perfect in practice.

“I’ve told the team this, that we don’t want you thinking about those things when you’re playing the game. We don’t want you thinking about your footwork. We want it to be habit that you’re doing all these things. We want you to think about your play and be reactionary and aggressive when you’re out there playing. Those things all come.”

Bridgewater finished the game completing 16 of 20 passes, becoming the only quarterback in Vikings preseason history to complete 80 percent of his passes with a minimum of 20 attempts. He threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns for a 136.9 passer rating.

For the preseason, Bridgewater has completed 22 of 33 passes for 226 yards, two touchdowns and a 106.4 rating. Zimmer said Bridgewater could see some time with the starters, despite Cassel starting.

Neither Bridgewater nor Cassel has thrown an interception in their preseason action.

Zimmer said he doesn’t place as much emphasis on the third preseason game as some coaches.

“This is still a lot about us. We’re going to have a few more sections than we have had the last two weeks with the Cardinals and the scout team work, but it’s still about what we do,” he said. “We’ll have plenty of time to prepare for St. Louis when we get going there, but it’s more about the routine that we have to do this week.


  • DT Linval Joseph has started to rehab his calf after being shot there in a nightclub following the first preseason game. Joseph attended Saturday’s game with a sleeve on his left calf but didn’t dress for the game.

    “I doubt that he’ll play Saturday but he’s doing more increased things,” Zimmer said.

  • CB Shaun Prater, who was diagnosed with a “mild concussion” Saturday night, could play this week.

  • Rookie CB Jabari Price, who injured his right arm, “probably will not play this week,” according to Zimmer.

  • S Robert Blanton (hamstring) is expected to return to practice this week and might be available on Saturday for the first time this preseason.

  • LB Gerald Hodges, who had an ice pack on his ankle following Saturday’s game, isn’t expected to play against Kansas City.

  • Zimmer was vague and may have taken a jab at CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) when asked about him and Blanton. “Blanton, I think’s going to go today. And the other guy? Who knows?” Zimmer said.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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