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Updated: October 7th, 2013 3:14pm
What happens if Matt Cassel plays well and the Vikings keep winning?

What happens if Matt Cassel plays well and the Vikings keep winning?

by Phil Mackey
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Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier announced Monday that Josh Freeman will not start Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. Instead, Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder (if healthy, if you believe that) will start. 

Frazier confirmed Freeman will be given a chance to compete for the starting QB job once he digests the playbook, and that makes sense, considering Freeman had his choice of several teams. He wouldn't have signed with Minnesota if they hadn't given him assurances that he would indeed start. 

But all of this leads to an interesting potential scenario: 

While Freeman gets up to speed on the playbook, what if Matt Cassel plays at a high level for the next two weeks and the Vikings beat the Panthers and Giants to move to 3-3? 

Should Frazier and company still make the switch to Freeman? 

It would be one thing if Freeman were, say, Peyton Manning. But he's not. He's Josh Freeman. There appears to be plenty of upside, yes, but there are also plenty of red flags, and no quarterback has thrown more interceptions over the past two-plus seasons than Freeman. 

It seems the Vikings could have two distinct goals for the rest of the season: 

1.) Get back in the playoff hunt, which is entirely possible with two very winnable games on the horizon. 

2.) See if Freeman can be a franchise quarterback. 

If the Vikings view the playoffs as a distinct possibility, they obviously should continue down that path. But if it's Cassel who is driving the bus down that path, that could make for an interesting fork in the road sometime soon. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd