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9/29/2016
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Camp Battles: Minnesota QB
By Mike Beacom

Camp Battles Articles:
Miami RB Arian Foster vs Jay Ajayi
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Camp Battles: Minnesota QB
Who will win, and should fantasy owners even care?

Think Minnesota quarterback and two visions come to mind: it’s either Fran Tarkenton scrambling for his life or Randall Cunningham chucking moon balls downfield to a waiting Randy Moss. Those are the franchise highlights under center.

The Vikings are long overdue to make new passing highlights, and for the past several seasons all fans have seen is shoddy play and losing football. The team is building a nice set of weapons to complement future Hall of Fame rusher Adrian Peterson, and some protection upfront. The offense just needs a quarterback to cling to. Training camp is pitting Matt Cassel against rookie Teddy Bridgewater in the hope of proving an answer.

Why Cassel will win the job: Last year the Vikings won five of the nine games in which Cassel played. Sounds trivial, we know, but in Minnesota a winning record is enough to earn a quarterback a ticker tape parade. Cassel gained the support of his teammates and had outplayed Bridgewater early in camp. He has 10 years of NFL experience, and has a head start in building chemistry with Greg Jennings, Cordarelle Patterson and other weapons in this offense.

Why Bridgewater will win it: Vikings fans are anxious, that’s why. The normally reserved Peterson spoke publicly on the quarterback spot last year, and there were calls for the team to pick up Mike Vick this offseason. And the team dealt back into the end of round one to pick Bridgewater, who some believe the Vikings brass had pegged as a top 15 prospect. The writing on the locker room wall suggests Bridgewater and the mood in Minnesota craves Bridgewater.

Don’t forget about: Christian Ponder
Ohhhh yeah, Ponder. How easy it is to forget, only three years removed from being the No. 11 pick in the NFL Draft. Some would argue the Vikings never really did give Ponder a fair shake, and that at times he was the best performer at the position. Unfortunately, the public has soured on Ponder and he has no hope of winning this job. His only role – at the moment – is to eat cap space and signal in plays from the sideline.

Who fantasy owners should pull for: Bridgewater
Experience does not mean much for a quarterback on a club like this. His primary role is to turn and hand the ball to Peterson; after that, it’s all gravy. Cassel is a safe pick for the Vikings, but he’s never going to deliver a Super Bowl title and he’s never going to become a top 15 fantasy quarterback. We still don’t know yet what Bridgewater’s ceiling is, only that he made a lot of nice throws while at Louisville. If he wins the job it will be a bumpy ride, but that’s a better ride than fantasy owners following Cassel for a safe Sunday stroll.


Follow Mike Beacom on Twitter @mikebeacom
 
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