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NFL notes: Matt Cassel to start for Vikings

Published September 27, 2013 8:34 pm

NFL notes • Veteran quarterback to play for injured Ponder.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Matt Cassel will get a chance to steer the Minnesota Vikings to their first win of the season — and maybe put himself in position for a more regular role.

Cassel will replace injured starter Christian Ponder at quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London. The Vikings (0-3) ruled out Ponder on Friday with a fractured rib sustained in last weekend's 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

"We worked with Matt in the mindset that this was a possibility, so I think we're prepared in that way," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's been in this role before. His veteran presence — you can feel it. So there was no shock this week as he got more and more reps. I think [the team] will handle it the right way."

Cassel hasn't played a down this season since signing a two-year deal with the Vikings in the offseason. The former New England Patriot threw six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games for the 2-14 Chiefs last season.

"I've been preparing for this and I feel like I'm ready to go," Cassel said. "I feel comfortable with this offense. I'm excited about it. That's what you prepare for as a backup."

Hernandez's girlfriend indicted

The girlfriend of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on a perjury charge in connection with the killing of his friend, a Massachusetts prosecutor said Friday, bringing to five the number of people facing charges in the case.

A grand jury indicted Shayanna Jenkins, 24, on a single count in relation to the investigation into the June 17 killing of Odin Lloyd.

Jenkins was not arrested and will be ordered to appear in court for an arraignment, the prosecutor's office said. She and Hernandez have a young child together.

Raiders' Pryor making progress

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor took another step in his recovery from a concussion and faces one final test before getting clearance to play Sunday.

Pryor was approved for full contact in practice and took increased reps while splitting time with Matt Flynn on Friday. Coach Dennis Allen said Pryor is making "a lot of progress" and did not rule out the possibility that he could start in Oakland's home game against Washington this week.

"I feel 100 percent, definitely," Pryor said. "I don't know what it's going to be, but I know I'm going to study these next two days real hard as if I will be starting."

According to Allen, Pryor passed all the concussion protocol tests required by the NFL but the coach added that the team wants him to take one additional test Saturday as precaution.

Around the league

Seahawks • Seattle could be missing three starting offensive linemen Sunday against Houston. Right tackle Breno Giacomini (knee) and center Max Unger (triceps) are both listed as doubtful. Coach Pete Carroll said both would be game-time decisions but it looks unlikely either will be able to play. Left tackle Russell Okung is also out after being placed on the short-term injured reserve list last week with a sprained toe ligament in his left foot.

Cowboys • Receiver Miles Austin has been ruled out of Sunday's game at San Diego because of a hamstring injury.

Colts • Coach Chuck Pagano said running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois and Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry will miss Sunday's game at Jacksonville. Bradshaw missed practice all week with a neck injury, and his absence means newly acquired Trent Richardson will inherit a heavier workload.

Bengals • Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has paid a fine for disorderly conduct after police accused him of making offensive comments in the latest in a series of legal problems for him. Jones paid $130 for the fine and court costs Thursday, an official in the Hamilton County Municipal Court clerk's office said Friday. —

Week 4 schedule

Thursday's Game

• San Francisco 35, St. Louis 11

Sunday's Games

• N.Y. Giants at Kansas City, 11 a.m.

• Seattle at Houston, 11 a.m., Ch. 13

• Baltimore at Buffalo, 11 a.m.

• Arizona at Tampa Bay, 11 a.m.

• Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.

• Cincinnati at Cleveland, 11 a.m.

• Chicago at Detroit, 11 a.m.

• Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota at London, 11 a.m., Ch. 2

• N.Y. Jets at Tennessee, 2:05 p.m.

• Washington at Oakland, 2:25 p.m.

• Dallas at San Diego, 2:25 p.m.

• Philadelphia at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13

• New England at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Open • Carolina, Green Bay

Monday's Game

• Miami at New Orleans, 6:40 p.m., ESPN