Ben Goessling of ESPN.com was asked if he thought the new coach would be more inclined to keep Ponder or Matt Cassel going into 2014. Here was his response.
At this point, I'd think Cassel. He did enough at the end of the season to suggest he could be a solid veteran option to get the Vikings through at least the early part of next season if they're trying to develop a young starter. Is he the long-term answer? No. But I can't see them investing more time in Ponder when they're probably going to have to draft another young quarterback this spring. When they gave Ponder another chance to start in November, it seemed like he was in his final shot. It's probably best for them to part ways with him and let him try to catch on somewhere else. Maybe a change of scenery will help him.
As we've mentioned numerous times in the past, Ponder is currently the only quarterback that the Vikings have complete control over going into the off-season. He's going into the final year of his rookie deal, while Cassel can void his contract by 7 February (five days after the Super Bowl) and Josh Freeman isn't coming back here.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Cassel exercises that option or not. With the team likely to take a quarterback early on in the 2014 NFL Draft after missing on Ponder, there's no guarantee that Cassel is going see being a stopgap as a viable option if he thinks he can get more significant playing time somewhere else. I don't know if the Vikings would go into the 2014 off-season with three completely different quarterbacks than they had to finish 2013.
Then again, with a new coaching staff coming in for next season, in the words of noted American philosopher Dwayne Johnson. . .IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO YOUR QUARTERBACKS WERE LAST YEAR!
With a great deal of uncertainty going into 2014, what the Vikings do with their quarterback depth chart is going to be one of the more important things to watch early on in the process.