If things continue like this for the Minnesota Vikings' passing game, Christian Ponder might be missing games for more reasons than a rib injury. As the Vikings traveled to London to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was revealed that Ponder, the team's starting quarterback, had suffered a broken rib too close to his heart to make playing in the game a safe endeavor. As a result, backup Matt Cassel, signed in March to a two-year, $7.4 million contract, got the start.
And halfway through the first quarter, Cassel threw a little comeback to his left to receiver Greg Jennings. Cassel looked through a blitz like a pro to make the throw, but Jennings did most of the work after the catch. (GIF via Bleacher Report.)
On Friday, Jennings said that Cassel is "more verbal" than Ponder, and "kind of commanding in the huddle."
"If anything, that's the difference," Jennings said of his new quarterback. "That comes with him having much more experience. He's been in position where he's had to be a starter for years now. He knows what's going on. He's commanding. So is Christian. But as far as throwing the ball, it is what it is. Matt's a very smart guy."
Cassel was an undrafted free agent from USC signed by the New England Patriots in 2005. He first gained fame by playing decently enough in 2008 when Tom Brady was lost for the season with a knee injury in the season-opener, though he was less successful in Kansas City after the Chiefs signed him to a six-year, $63 million contract in the '09 preseason.
Ponder was the Vikings' first-round pick in the 2011 draft, and he's thrown just 33 touchdown passes to 30 interceptions in 30 NFL games. In the battle between two quarterbacks with question marks, it may be up to the guy with the hot hand, and right now, that's Matt Cassel.