On the cusp of the “legal tampering period,” Ian Rapaport reports that the Minnesota Vikings have re-signed veteran quarterback Matt Cassel.

Earlier today, the Vikings also announced that they resigned cornerback and punt returner Marcus Sherels.

Cassel may have been an extremely up-and-down quarterback this last year, but this re-signing is probably a good thing. It may mean that the Vikings wouldn’t go after potentially more tantalizing targets like Michael Vick or Josh McCown, but with those two at the top of the free agency market for quarterbacks, it wasn’t a good group to begin with.

Between Cassel and Ponder, Cassel showed significantly higher highs, but also on occasion lower lows, with his game-by-game performance:

Cassel and Ponder's game-by-game performance, according to various metrics

Cassel and Ponder’s game-by-game performance, according to various metrics

While Ponder was more consistent, he was consistently bad, while Cassel’s volatility produced above-average games. Even from a film-perspective, the difference between Cassel against Philadelphia, one of the single-most compelling performances for any quarterback this year, and his game against Seattle or Carolina, both depressing.

Cassel did a better job using the tools available to him on a more frequent basis and is still honestly one of the better backup quarterbacks in a league sorely lacking in quarterback options.

The roster needs to have a number of quarterbacks. They won’t all be young or have massive upside. Cassel can fill the role of a backup quarterback just fine, and could potentially help groom the next young Vikings quarterback, which is all he will be asked to do.

As for Sherels, he’s a player whose talent has gone from questionable to hopeful. His short period as a slot cornerback this year was promising (although he did have major miscues) and it looks like he could continue to be solid depth as a nickel corner while remaining one of the better punt returners in the league.

 

Update: Matt Cassel’s deal was two years for $10 million, which improves his option base salary of $3.75 million to an average salary of $5 million. Presumably, there is also more guaranteed money.