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Cassel taking control of Vikings quarterback battle

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After Vikings coach Mike Zimmer hinted yesterday that Matt Cassel may play the entire first half in the team's second preseason game Saturday, Cassel said he is hoping his performance Saturday night will cement his status as the Vikings starting quarterback come Sept. 7.

"I have to go out and perform, and if I do that, then I plan on being the Week 1 starter," Cassel told the Pioneer Press after the team's final practice in Mankato yesterday.

Cassel led the Vikings on the team's only scoring drive in their first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. The 10-year veteran was 5 for 6 passing on the scoring drive.

Cassel's rise to the top of the depth chart has not only been a result of his performance, but also due to the struggles of rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After going 6 for 13 passing for 49 yards, Bridgewater then had trouble in practice this week. The rookie quarterback threw three interceptions in a team scrimmage Monday night.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings said Cassel's high number of reps with the first team offense is a good indication that he is the No. 1 guy right now.

"Right now, he's getting the most reps with the (first team), so I guess you can assume that (Cassel is taking control)," Jennings said. "But, I don't really know where (the coaches') mind-set is when it comes to that."

Cassel said he believes the team can build off the offense's performance in the first preseason game.

"My goal is always to go out and have a good performance," Cassel said. "And I think hopefully I can build off what we did last week offensively, and our guys can go out there and have another great performance."

After tomorrow night's game against the Cardinals, the Vikings finish off their preseason schedule on the road with games at Kansas City and Tennessee. The Purple open the season on the road in St. Louis, but will open the home schedule on Sept. 14 with a game against the New England Patriots.

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