Matt Cassel Will Start at QB for Vikings in Week 6

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #16 of the Minnesota Vikings throws the ball during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Matt Cassel is going to start at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 action on Sunday.

The team made the official announcement on Twitter:

Cassel beat out Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman, who signed with the team earlier in the week after being let go by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to earn the starting nod.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported yesterday that Ponder, the team's starter to open the season, had been cleared to return after overcoming a rib injury, but Minnesota was still leaning toward sticking with Cassel to face Carolina.

Cassel earned the chance to get the call again after a solid showing before the team's bye week. He completed 64 percent of his throws for 248 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He's struggled over the past few seasons, making it easy to forget he's only three seasons removed from a campaign that saw him throw 27 touchdowns and just seven picks for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings hope he can play that type of football moving forward.

The team's plan with Freeman hasn't come to light quite yet. His upside was obvious during previous seasons with Tampa Bay, but he was struggling mightily before getting released, and the Vikings probably want to give him some time to settle in and learn the offense.

As for Ponder, he was given numerous chances to lock down the spot over the past three seasons and was never able to do it. Through 30 career games, he's completed less than 60 percent of his passes with just 33 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions.

How long Cassel will remain the starter is unknown, but he gets another chance to prove himself in Week 6 against a solid Panthers defense.