"One thing you can expect in the NFL: expect the unexpected," Cassel said. "Because every week it changes. You never know what's going to happen. I learned that over time. This is my ninth year now."
Freeman's ugly breakup with Greg Schiano in Tampa and the fact he wanted to play in Minnesota, though, gave Vikings GM Rick Spielman an opportunity to acquire a possible long-term answer.
Frazier has already said Freeman would not play Sunday but will be able to compete for the No. 1 job after learning the team's offensive scheme. Keep in mind, backups usually get no more than 10 percent of the repetitions at practice during the regular season, so this is Freeman's job when he is deemed ready.
"At the end of the day, you've got to follow your heart," Freeman told reporters in a conference call after passing his physical on Monday. "I'm not saying I was promised anything. I was not. All I was promised was an opportunity to be part of a first-class organization and be put into a role where I could nurture myself as a player."
This is far from a slam dunk. Freeman needs to prove the challenges to his work ethic as well as his leadership skills in Tampa were truly the manifestations of a deranged coach on a power trip.
"Obviously, he didn't feel that I was the guy he wanted leading his team," Freeman said. "I had a lot of great memories. Lots of good times with the fellas. Times change, things progress and I'm just fired up to be here in Minnesota."
Despite any flaws, Freeman has already excelled at the NFL level. In 2010, he threw 25 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Last year, he tossed for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. That's a ceiling Ponder can't even see, never mind reach.
"I know he is a big quarterback with a strong arm that can do a lot of good things at all levels of the field," Spielman said.
And Freeman wanted in for the same reason Cassel does. They are salivating over what Ponder could never take advantage of, the constant eight-man boxes used to stop Peterson.
"My main focus was where can I go to that I can better myself the most and that's going to allow me to learn and just work?" Freeman said. "I wanted a good environment. That's something I know that I get with Minnesota."
Peterson isn't the only offensive option, though. Jennings headlines a solid receiving corps and his 70-yard TD in London was the seventh of that distance in his career, tied for 5th in NFL history and first among active players. Mix in a solid second option in Simpson and an emerging tight end in Kyle Rudolph and you have a well-rounded unit.
Carolina's offense, meanwhile, is sputtering behind Newton, whose 78.4 passer rating would be the lowest of his career if it continues. Carolina is 27th in the NFL in scoring at 18.5 ppg and 24th in total offense with 329 ypg.
"I think it's more on my behalf that I have to focus in and hone in on my skills and say 'Look, let me focus more in the second half and get the job done,'" said Newton.
Coach Ron Rivera, perhaps trying to protect his embattled signal caller, deflected things toward the banged-up offensive line, which has surrendered 15 sacks and will be missing left guard Amini Silatolu, who is out for the rest of the season Monday due to a torn right ACL. The group was already shorthanded after losing right guard Garry Williams in Week 1.
The Vikings defense has forced 12 turnovers through first 4 games, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Two players Newton will have to watch out for our ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison.
Allen is coming off his 2 1/2-sack performance against Pittsburgh, while Robison, is fresh off signing a four-year extension worth up to $28 million.
The Vikings are flirting with disaster by igniting this QB controversy but something had to be done because there was no evidence things were going to turn around with Ponder.
The thought process is that Cassel is enough of a professional to steward things in the now before giving the keys to Freeman, an enormous talent dumped in Minnesota's lap by Schiano's my-way-or-the-highway approach.
Carolina could definitely take advantage of the strange circumstances and get things going against the Vikings porous pass defense but the more likely outcome is that Minnesota gets it done on its home field.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vikings 24, Panthers 17