More Vikings QB shuffling likely this month

Josh Freeman (Al Bello/Getty)

The Vikings have already had all three of their quarterbacks start this season, but it's looking like each of them could get at least one start in the month of December alone. Welcome to Quarterback Quandary 2013 (use the dramatic voice in your head).

The Vikings quarterback malaise may be taking another strange twist as the 2013 season winds down – as if there haven't been enough twists and turns already.

For those scoring at home, the season began with Christian Ponder being the focus of training camp, as reporters both local and national made Ponder the centerpiece of team predictions. The team would rise or fall on the arm and legs of their third-year quarterback. We all know how that turned out.

But that lasted all of three weeks. He was replaced by Matt Cassel in Week 4 when the team went to London to play the Steelers. When Cassel helped lead the team to a win, he held the job coming out of the bye week – where the Vikings made news by signing Josh Freeman. Cassel was inexplicably replaced by Freeman against the Giants. Freeman stunk out MetLife Stadium and hasn't seen the field since.

The roller coaster began picking up speed at that point. Ponder was back in the starting lineup against the Packers and Cowboys and made the start against the Redskins before getting banged up and subsequently replaced by Cassel. Ponder came back to start against Seattle but was pulled when he threw a pick-six and was replaced by Cassel again. Ponder got his job back again when the Vikings traveled to Green Bay and started last week's Chicago game before getting injured prior to halftime and again replaced by Cassel.

With Ponder still unable to pass post-concussion protocol, Cassel will get the start again – the sixth time in 12 games he has played without being officially viewed as the starter, simply an injury replacement.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen threw a potential wrench into an already convoluted quarterback plan Friday. On his appearance on the "NFL Live" program, Mortensen said he's hearing that the Vikings may start Freeman the final two games of the season to give him a chance to show what he can do. The wait is perhaps based on the Vikings still being mathematically alive for the NFC North title.

If Freeman is pushed back into the lineup, it will be the latest chapter in one of the most bizarre quarterback seasons in Vikings history. The problem is that the season will likely end with more questions than answers. Freeman signed a one-year deal and can walk via free agency if he wants – you don't drop a quarterback franchise number of him. Cassel signed a two-year deal, but the second year of the deal is with the player option, which means if Cassel wants to walk, he can join Freeman on the way out of Minnesota. The only quarterback who is under contract is Ponder and the Vikings would seem to have seen enough of him to make an informed decision.

Cassel will state his case why he should be the starter on Sunday, but earlier in the week Leslie Frazier admitted that at some point this season there could be a nod toward the future at the quarterback position. If that indication becomes a reality, we should have the chance for Freeman to put his bid on the starting position for next season. With both of them able to leave at the end of the season, it would seem the Year of the Quarterback Quandary isn't going to stop until the 2013 season officially comes to an end Dec. 29.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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