Step down, Adam Schefter. Tom Brady totally had the scoop on this one.
Schefter is reporting that the Vikings have decided to bench Christian Ponder in favor of Matt Cassel for Sunday’s game against the Steelers in London. Schefter is the first reporter verifying the news, but the possibility was leaked earlier this week by Brady himself, who of course has an inside connection with Cassel, his former backup on the Patriots.
Cassel was solid in the one season he took over for Brady in New England, when Brady went down in Week 1 of the 2008 season with his busted knee. Cassel’s 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions (and a 63.4 completion percentage) got him the starting gig the season after in Kansas City, where he played for four years. But Cassel was never at that level under center for the Chiefs, putting up middling numbers and low completion percentages except for one strong season in 2010.
Cassel came over to the Vikings this offseason and has been the backup to Ponder, who has had his own struggles as a starter. Ponder, who is in his third year with Minnesota, has completed just 59 percent of his passes this season, throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s been underwhelming the last two seasons, too, with the Vikings relying on the running game of Adrian Peterson.
Ponder is also dealing with a rib injury, and coach Leslie Frazier has said the injury is the only reason Ponder would not start.