The Minnesota Vikings announced this morning that Matt Cassel will start at quarterback in their Week 4 matchup against the Steelers in London. Starting quarterback Christian Ponder suffered a rib injury last week in the loss against the Browns.
Throughout training sessions this week, Ponder did not report any issues when throwing the football, but stated the risk of the fractured rib protruding into his heart if he takes on an awkward hit.
"They were worried about the placement where the rib is to my heart," Ponder said. "So we made the decision based on what's best for me and my health and for this team. It stinks but it is what it is and I'll be back in for Carolina."
Cassel will start in his first regular season game since Nov. 18, 2012. With Ponder having a 65.9 passer rating and the Vikings sitting at a 0-3 record, Cassel can play against the winless Steelers as if he has nothing to lose. Head coach Leslie Frazier has not given any implication on Ponder’s job security following Cassel’s performance on Sunday.
"I just found out this morning before practice,” Cassel said upon learning he would be the Vikings’ starting quarterback. “At the same time I've been preparing for this and I feel like I'm ready to go. I had a good week of practice and now it's about going out there and executing on Sunday."
Cassel is 1-2 against the Steelers in his career. Sunday’s game will the first regular season game to take place at Wembley Stadium in London; the Jacksonville Jaguars will take on the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27th.