The Minnesota Vikings finally won their first game of the season Sunday by defeating the win-less Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27.
Coincidentally, the Vikings also started Matt Cassel at quarterback as much scrutinized quarterback Christian Ponder was out with a rib injury. While many fans will now be calling for Cassel to start the remainder of the season over Ponder, should the Vikings listen? Is Cassel that much better then Ponder?
In short, yes and no. The Vikings should start Cassel for the remainder of the year, but its not because Cassel is strides ahead of Ponder in talent. Cassell is just better suited to help lead this team to wins then Ponder is and here is why.
The Vikings are in a win now situation.Players like Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, and Greg Jennings are still talented enough to help the team win now, but the Vikings can't count on them for many more seasons after this year. Their age is starting to creep up on them and its only a matter of time before the talent will start to diminish as well. Or huge end loaded contracts will force the Vikings to say good bye to some players.
If the Vikings plan to win includes these three players, they cannot afford to keep Ponder in at quarterback and hope that he gets better by experience. Even though he has good weapons surrounding him, Ponder has so far not proven that he is talented enough to win in this league. While Cassel is not the most talented quarterback in the league, he provides the Vikings with that game experience that Ponder lacks. The Vikings need that experience to help them get out of the hole they are in and back into this season and try to make a playoff run.
By starting Cassel over Ponder, it should rejuvenate some the of the players on the team. For most of them, they have seen what kind of player Ponder has and will probably be. Last years success had nothing to do with Ponder. IT was Adrian Peterson's once in a lifetime season that lead the Vikings to the playoffs. By inserting Cassel into the lineup, its almost like a fresh start to the season and that energy and excitement will be back for these players, because they don't exactly know what will happen with Cassel. Some players probably already know, or assume they know, what their season would go like with Ponder. By winning his first game, Cassel probably has already got some of his teammates more rejuvenated and excited for this team and their support for Cassel to start the remainder oft eh year.
Matt Cassel is by no means that much better of a quarterback then Christian Ponder. Cassel just provides that certain experience the Vikings needs right now. He also provides the Vikings with a fresh start and in turn, more energy to the players. If the Vikings want to try and save their season and make a run for the playoffs, they need to start Cassel for the remainder of the year and hope to find a better quarterback in the offseason.