Cassel clearly would like to see increased workload next time
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Cassel was pleased with the one drive he oversaw on Friday night in the Vikings' 10-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium.
The veteran quarterback, who almost certainly will be the starter on Sept. 7 when the regular-season kicks off, completed five of six passes for 62 yards in a 10-play drive that ended with Matt Asiata's 1-yard touchdown run.
"I think it was a good start for us," said Cassel, who was sacked once. "The big thing for us, our goal, was to go out, have consistency, get into a real situation where we had to convert on third downs. Guys came out, made plays, we spread the ball around."
While Cassel liked the end result of that drive - he completed passes on third-and-7 and third-and-6 for first downs -- it also is pretty clear he would like more in-game work in a Norv Turner-run offense that he is still learning.
"I would like to play as much as possible," Cassel said. "Obviously, it is a new system and the more reps that I can get the more comfortable I can get and that's the key for me."
Asked what type of playing time he felt like he needed, Cassel took the diplomatic approach.
"You're going to have to ask coach on that one," he said. "He'll make that determination. At the same time, like I said, the more I can play, the more reps that I can get out there, I think the more comfortable I'll be come Week 1."
Coach Mike Zimmer and Turner, his offensive coordinator, clearly wanted to get a long look at rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on Friday. Bridgewater replaced Cassel for the second series and then played into the third quarter. He completed six of 13 passes for 49 yards and was sacked twice.
Bridgewater's performance will enable Zimmer and Turner to sit down with their quarterback of the future and do plenty of teaching in the coming days. But it's also obvious that Cassel is going to be the Vikings' starting quarterback and the next two preseason games will be about getting him the necessary work to get him ready.
That means Cassel could get a quarter of work next Saturday night when the Vikings play host to the Arizona Cardinals and it will be expected that Cassel will play into the third quarter on Aug. 23 in Kansas City. If Zimmer follows the normal formula for exhibition games, Cassel will not play in the fourth and final preseason game on Aug. 28 in Tennessee.
Cassel, who is entering his 10th NFL season and his second with the Vikings, expressed confidence with the progress he has made in this offense.
"At this point I feel very comfortable with the scheme," he said. "Obviously, I'm still growing and learning and trying to understand what Coach Turner is trying to get accomplished with some of these plays as well."
Zimmer was happy with what he saw on Friday night from his starter. "I thought he did a great job," he said. "He made a couple big throws on third down. He played like a veteran, he had control in the huddle."
Next week, though, Cassel would like to be in control of that huddle for a bit longer.