Minnesota Vikings Rumors: Christian Ponder Trade Target Over Release, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel Not Returning as GM Rick Spielman Seeks Franchise QB in NFL Draft

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Feb 04, 2014 11:18 AM EST
Christian Ponder
Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal (96) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) during the second quarter at Lambeau Field."

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is simply saying what everyone is thinking; he has not gotten it right when it comes to solving the team's quarterback issues. Over the past two seasons, the Vikings met their downfall because of quarterback problems. As the team heads into 2014, Spielman is vowing to change all of that and it could start with a trade.

CBSSports.com reports the Vikings are exploring trade options in regards to quarterback Christian Ponder. Instead of simply releasing him to the free agent market, Minnesota is hoping a team in need of a player will make a trade on him. The Vikings got Ponder in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and he has yet to pan out as a starter. Instead of letting that investment go to total waste, a trade is the first preferred option.

Ponder's time in Minnesota is over whether by release or by trade. The team is likely to part ways with all three of their quarterbacks on the roster. Josh Freeman is set to become a free agent in March. He played in exactly one game after the team signed him from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite speculation that he could succeed in Norv Turner's offense, Freeman looks poised for a backup role with another team according to CBS.

Matt Cassel has the option to void his 2014 contract on Friday. According to ESPN.com, he can become an unrestricted free agent. Many believe Cassel could be a high priority for teams looking for a veteran to help a younger player. That role could come in Minnesota, but the quarterback will likely hit the market to at least see what interest is out there.

After hearing Spielman's words on the quarterback history of the Vikings, he is expecting to be let go sometime before March. With a new head coach and coordinator in place, Ponder admits that his future is uncertain, hoping to land back on his feet as a starter. Spielman will continue his search for a franchise player.

"Every team is always going to be looking for that franchise quarterback until you actually get one," Spielman said. "And you're going to continually grind away until you finally hit on one."

All signs point towards the draft being the best option for Minnesota. This year's class of quarterbacks is stacked with talent. The Vikings have the eighth pick in the first round. That leaves them out of the running for players like Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, but could get the team someone like Teddy Bridgewater.

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