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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - Well, it may have been the worst kept secret in the league but on Friday we finally got confirmation. Meeting the media for his last comments before Sunday's game against the Panthers, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier confirmed that quarterback Matt Cassel will serve as Minnesota's starter this coming Sunday at Mall of America Field.
"Matt Cassel is going to be our starting quarterback on Sunday," Frazier said, confirming that the decision had actually been made prior to Friday. "Christian [Ponder] is going to back him up."
It may not seem like much on the surface but the statement is actually kind of ground breaking within the Vikings organization. Before Friday, the company line was always, 'if Ponder is healthy, he's our starter.' Now with the acquisition of Josh Freeman earlier this week and now Ponder being benched for Cassel despite a clean bill of health, the Vikings are essentially making a statement that they are turning away from the guy who was supposed to be their franchise QB.
"I think it's always tough when you make a change at quarterback," Frazier continued. "You have to take a lot of factors into it when you're doing that, you don't make those decisions lightly and we didn't."
Ponder, who went down with a fractured rib two weeks ago, has had an up and down career with the Vikings. One which may shortly be coming to an end.
As for the Vikings newest quarterback, Josh Freeman, Frazier has not yet decided what to do with him.
"I have not decided at this point what we're going to do with Josh [Freeman]. We don't see him being able to play in this ball game yet based on where we are and where he is with our offense."
Looking beyond this week and out at the rest of the season, the quarterback situation is likely to be up in the air. According to coach, the staff will re-evaluate on Monday and "see how it goes."
Asked if Freeman would be ready for the Vikings week 7 game on Monday night against the 0-6 New York Giants, Leslie said "We'll probably need to look at some things [with Josh] next week to make that determination [on his status]. I'm not sure, even as we speak that that would be the case. We'll evaluate it next week."
In the mean time, Cassel will lead what has been a relatively high scoring Vikings offense on to the field Sunday against a stingy Carolina defense. In fact, the Panthers have allowed the fewest yards from scrimmage this season to the opposition with 1,206 allowed and average out to only allow 18.5 points per game. While times are changing within Winter Park, the task does not get any easier.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN