The Minnesota Vikings have officially announced (well, if a team's Facebook account is considered 'official') that Matt Cassel will start Sunday's 'home' game in London against Pittsburgh.
Cassel, who is replacing an injured Christian Ponder (ribs), will try to steer the Vikings towards their first win of the season, and comes into a situation that few expected a month ago. The Vikings are 0-3 and on the verge of their season imploding, if it already hasn't. With issues at QB, offensive line, and all over the defense, the Vikings have stumbled badly out of the gate, and they really need a spark.
Will Cassel provide that? It remains to be seen. This is the reason Cassel was signed in the off season. Last year, the Vikings had serious deficiencies at the backup position, as was evidenced by the tire fire that was Joe Webb in the Wild Card playoff game against Green Bay. As a starter, Cassel 29-33. In his career, he has a completion percentage of just over 58%, with 82 TD passes and 57 interceptions.
Of course, those that observed him the closest while he was in Kansas City don't think he's the answer, as his production really nosedived after 2010 Pro Bowl campaign.
Make no mistake, Christian Ponder is hurt and unable to play, or he would be out there. A broken rib is a broken rib, and it's the smart move to sit him, especially with the bye week coming up. I don't think that Leslie Frazier would have benched him after only three games, anyway. The problems with the Vikings run a lot deeper than Ponder, and making a change just for change sake really doesn't do anything in the long term.
But at 0-3, if Matt Cassel plays well and the Vikings win, the temporary change could be a more permanent one. Of course, if Cassel performs as poorly as the rest of the team, it could also lead to a major house cleaning, and no one will be back come this time next year, from the coaching staff on down.