Report: QB Matt Cassel to start for Vikings Sunday

Matt Cassel will reportedly make his second successive start this Sunday. (USATSI)
Two weeks after making his first start of the season, quarterback Matt Cassel will again be under center Sunday when the Vikings face the Panthers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Cassel was signed in the offseason to back up Christian Ponder, who missed the Week 4 game against the Steelers with a fractured rib. Cassel played well against Pittsburgh and helped lead Minnesota to its first win of the season.

But the quarterback situation was complicated during last week's bye when the Vikings signed recently released Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.

That led to speculation that Freeman, a 2009 first-round pick, might be on a 12-game trial in Minnesota, and Ponder's future with the team could be up in the air.

General manager Rick Spielman said earlier this week that Freeman's addition wasn't a reflection on Ponder, and coach Leslie Frazier reiterated Tuesday that when Ponder is healthy, he's the starter.

Except that, according to Schefter, the Vikings have cleared Ponder to play, and Cassel is still expected to take the field with the rest of the Vikings' offense this Sunday.

If true, Ponder's hold on the No. 1 job could be much more precarious than the team is letting on. And it's reasonable to assume that as soon as Freeman learns the playbook, the organization will want to see what he can do.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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