Cassel not looking over his shoulder as he prepares to start opener


Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel says he isn't worried about getting a quick hook as he prepares to start the team's season opener in St. Louis on Sunday.

"You can't worry about if I'm going to make a mistake, what's going to happen next," Cassel told reporters Wednesday. "I think Teddy does have a tremendous future, but hopefully as long as I'm here, he's not playing."

Cassel was named the starter after the third week of the preseason. Bridgewater, the team's rookie first round draft pick, will be his backup.

Like Cassel, Bridgewater had a strong showing in the preseason and has become immensely popular among Vikings fans.

Cassel completed 66.7 percent of his passes during the preseason for 367 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Star Tribune notes that he averaged 9.4 yards per attempt – nearly four yards better than Bridgewater.

According to Pro Football Talk, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged there is a fine line between what's best for the team now and what's best for the team's future.

Zimmer said he doesn't think there will be a quick change to Bridgewater.

"We've gone seven, almost eight weeks now where we feel this is the way we want to go," Zimmer said. "If we throw an interception the first play of the game, I'm not going to yank him."

According to ESPN, Zimmer's decision to go with Cassel seems more about managing Bridgewater's future correctly than about wanting immediate returns at quarterback,

Cassel returned to the Vikings in the offseason knowing he would have to compete to win the starting job and he believes his hard work created an opportunity for him.

"I feel like I've had a tremendous offseason," said Cassel. "I have worked as hard as I have ever worked."

It is that work ethic that Cassel believes a quarterback needs to have to win over his teammates in the locker room.

"For me it starts for coming in and working and showing these guys I am in it with them," said Cassel. "From there it's about making sure you are prepared each and every day, because you can't go out there on the practice field and make mistakes and then be the guy yelling at somebody when they make mistakes if you are making them as well."

Cassel and the Vikings open their season at noon on Sunday in St. Louis.

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