Teddy Bridgewater provided the Minnesota Vikings with last-minute heroics in Saturday's 30-28 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but not before Matt Cassel put forth another strong case for the starting job.
Looking supremely comfortable in Norv Turner's offense, Cassel engineered three first-half scoring drives while adding a big-play element to the offense. He would have added another touchdown and field goal if not for a Kyle Rudolph drop and a Blair Walsh miss.
Through two preseason games, Cassel is a sterling 17 of 22 for 215 yards and a touchdown, generating a passer rating near 120.0 against first-team defenses.
Bridgewater came on in the third quarter, immediately showing more poise, accuracy and pocket presence than his disappointing preseason debut last week.
After guiding the offense to a short field goal and a touchdown pass to tight end Allen Reisner, Bridgewater turned the ball over on downs, leading to an apparent game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals.
It looked bleak for the rookie when he got the ball back at his own 17-yard line with just over a minute remaining. Bridgewater promptly led the Vikings down the field in a classic one-minute drill, passing for a trio of first downs before the game-winning toss to Rodney Smith with 20 seconds remaining.
Bridgewater finished an eye-popping 16 of 20 (80 percent) for 177 yards (8.9 yards per attempt), two touchdowns and a 136.9 passer rating against fringe players on Arizona's roster. Counting last week, he is now 22 of 33 (66.7 percent) for 226 yards (6.9 yards per attempt).
Mike Zimmer was noncommittal about naming a starting quarterback after the game. The coaching staff will huddle on Sunday to decide if Bridgewater will see action with the first-team offense in next week's regular-season audition.
Saturday was a best-case scenario for the Vikings. Bridgewater showed the magic that prompted the organization to trade into the end of the first round in May, while Cassel proved once again that he can move the chains against a quality defense.