The Wild hopes to win two in a row for the first time since Nov. 16 and 20 – the end of a four-game win streak. Darcy Kuemper gets the start and Niklas Backstrom has returned to the team as it sets to face Columbus.
The Vikings are expecting to have a healthy Matt Cassel next season, but there won’t be a quarterback competition this time in training camp.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t had a chance to speak with the veteran quarterback about his role, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will continue to serve as the starter.
“Teddy is the quarterback, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Zimmer said. “He’s the quarterback regardless of, I won’t say that.”
Cassel will be in the final season of a two-year deal he signed last offseason. He carries a $4.7 million cap hit at the moment.
He won the starting job over Bridgewater and Christian Ponder in training camp but suffered a broken foot in Week 3 against the Saints. Cassel was placed on injured reserve, prompting the start of the Bridgewater era for the Vikings.
As evident in his play, Bridgewater showed enough to retain the starting job next year. Cassel will enter his 11th season next year and hasn’t finished a season with double-digit starts since 2010 with the Chiefs. Barring an unforeseen injury to Bridgewater,
Cassel will turn 33 in May, and he’ll give the Vikings a solid veteran to backup and mentor Bridgewater in the final season of his contract. Bridgewater, for once, soldifies the quarterback position for the Vikings heading into the offseason.
“I think we’re fortunate in the fact that we learned an awful lot about Teddy this year and the progress that he’s made,” Zimmer said. “He’s still got to get a lot better to get to where we want to go. He’s got to improve in the offseason and things like that, but yeah, I think it will allow the focus to move to another spot, other spots, not one spot, but other spots, we’ve got a lot of spots we’ve got to get better at. I think that helps solidify probably the number one question that was going on at this point in time last year.”