Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder vs. Matt Cassel

Brian Dezelske@@BrianDezelskeCorrespondent IIIJuly 1, 2013

Matt Cassel said all the right things when asked about his role as the newest member of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback group. He made it crystal clear that he’s Christian Ponder’s backup.

“The fact of the matter is, again, Christian is the starting quarterback. I think we’ll have a great [meeting] room. I’m there to add value. I’m there to help out in whatever capacity that is, and go from there,” Cassel told to Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Mark Craig back in March.

Cassel speaks the truth; Ponder is the starter. However, don’t let those feel-goods fool you. Cassel chose Minnesota for a reason and fully believes he can be this team’s starter.

He realizes, barring injury, he’ll be carrying a clipboard Week 1. But he won’t be trying to beat out Ponder in camp anyway. His goal is to shine so brightly that Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman won’t hesitate to pull the plug on the entire Ponder experiment, if need be.

Realistically, Cassel’s shooting to be under center in that Week 6-7 range.

Let’s face it. Despite all the Ponder-is-our-guy support coming out of Winter Park, he’s on a short leash because the front office knows the situation they’re in.

The team is coming off its first playoff appearance since the first year of the Brett Favre experience, so making a deep run heads its 2013 priority list—it’s not seeing if their former first-round pick is "the man." For Ponder, it’s put up or shut up.

With the big splash made back in April’s NFL Draft, along with the money spent on former Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings, taking a step backward is not an option if Frazier and Spielman like job security.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianDezelskeBB

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