It is pretty hard to argue that Matt Cassel was anything other than the Vikings best quarterback in 2013.  It is also hard to argue that they don’t need to improve at the position and can’t afford to take steps backwards.

1500ESPN’s Darren Wolfson, however, reports that source told him Wednesday that Matt Cassel intends to void the second and final year of his Minnesota Contract.  If he indeed goes through with it, then he is essentially wagering that he can do better than the $3.7 million one-year deal he would have been playing for in 2014.

Many have expressed surprise that Cassel would bail on a nice payday like what he was owed, but I am not at all surprised.  I listed Cassel as the Vikings top internal free agent candidate and actually assumed he would void the deal.  With such slim pickings at the quarterback position this offseason when it comes to free agents, he could easily be trading a nice one year deal for a nice longer-term deal.

Both Josh McCown and Michael Vick are a few years older than Cassel, so is arguably the most attractive free agent option at the position this offseason.  He won’t be breaking anyone’s bank, that is for sure, but I’m sure he’ll come out of this with more long-term stability than if he had played under the one year deal.

The only real question for the Vikings at this point is whether or not they want to attempt to re-sign Cassel for more money and commitment, or begin the offseason by taking a small step backwards at the quarterback position while also clearing some cap space.  It would not be a total shocker to see Cassel still end up back in Minnesota to play under Norv Turner.

With quarterback Josh Freeman also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, it is entirely possible that Christian Ponder is this team’s only quarterback option at this moment in time.

64 COMMENTS

  1. first draft in a long time where I trust HC and OC to make the right QB decisions……………I did, however, leave out the GM in this equasion…..hopefully he will accept wise counsel…

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  2. That’s right Krug, I do believe old Norm will be useful in drafting A QB.
    Trade Ponder for anything…7th rounder. Just do it.

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  3. Vikes will keep Ponder. He is cheap and the only qb under contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ponder is the starting qb next year. Even if Bikes draft a qb early, he won’t start right away.

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  4. ponder is awfully young to be a mentoring stop-gap guy to a rookie QB. quite the fall he has taken in the last 14 months

    we can still rebound pretty good next season, though, if our D improves substantially

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  5. Why not. Cassell would be a fool if he did not at least attempt to leverage a higher paying contract. I predict the Vikings or Houston makes a run at him. Wouldn’t be surprised if Washington makes a draft day trade of Kirk Cousins. He’s gotta be somebody’s back up plan if the draft takes an unforeseen turn. Maybe SpielMullen’s.

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  6. Hey everybody, be sure to check out Fred Evans sister, Aja Evans. She’s on the Olympic bobsled team. Her role is something called The Brakeman, but I’ve seen her naked, she’s really a girl.
    #jealous

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  7. I’m heart broken over the Cassel news. After the week 17 win over the Lions, I thought there was no way Cassel would opt out of 3.7 million and a starting job with the Vikings. Looks like I was wrong.

    I don’t think it’s about the money.
    One of the first coaches the Vikings reached out to was Bill O’Brien (ex New England offensive coach). One reason why the Vikings went after O’Brien could have been his good working relationship with Cassel.

    I can’t blame Matt Cassel for testing the waters. It only takes one other team to show interest… and if Houston is that other team, he is in very very good position.

    But it wouldn’t suprise me if he signed a very affordable 2 or 3 year deal with the Texans. If the Texans signed Cassel, they could then focus on drafting Jadeveon Clowny.

    Even if the Vikings were the highest bidder, I just don’t see Cassel staying in Minnesota.

    If Norv wanted Cassel… and if there was any hope of Cassel staying, Norv and Zim would not be giving the “silent treatment” right now about any desire to keep Cassel as the starting QB.

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  8. I don’t think Blake Bortles is the next Andrew Luck, but Bill O’Brien was a great relationship with Bortles’ coach George O’Leary at UCF so he could go #1 overall.

    Bortles or Clowney (maybe Johnny Football, but I’m not buying that) will be the top pick in the draft.
    Could Cassel be a pawn (so to speak) to the Texans so that Bortles drops to #2… and maybe the Vikings trade up with the Rams to get him?

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  9. I hope Cassel is just looking for a better deal from the Vikes. I will have nightmares if Ponder is the starter. Good luck selling tickets if that’s the case. Cassel is the best option at this point

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  10. Does anybody know if Cassel’s contract was figured in with the Viking’s payroll this year? If it was, then $3.7 mil just came came off the books.

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      • Thanks Johnny! I was not sure at all and I have not seen anything about it. I knew the Vikes and Cassel both had the option to opt out but that’s about it.

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  11. wow, are we really that desperate? losing cassel is not a big deal, he’s not our future, and neither is ponder, they’re both just gap guys. we’re not winning a title next season, so we have time to get our new QB ready

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    • Pretty desperate for sure.
      I’m just glad Norv has everything under control.

      If the Texans draft Clowney, would the Vikings trade up to #2 to select Bortles?

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      • i doubt it. the price to move from 8 to 2 would be very high, probably too high for rick, and we have too many holes to fill later in the draft. if we get a qb at 8, without reaching, he’ll have to be a top tier guy that falls, imo, and that could happen. may 8th is a lot of time for things to change

        norv knows his stuff on offense. we’re in good hands there

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        • agree.
          Spielman made a splashy move last year. Don’t think he will do it again.
          If Bortles or Bridgewater falls to 8, I am ok with that. If they are off the board…

          Worst case is the Vikings are in good position to trade back… pick up an extra draft pick and still land Derek Carr if he is the QB turner likes.

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  12. The offensive coordinator had some good things to say about 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder, who is the only Vikings quarterback on the roster at the moment. But the fact that Turner said everyone in the organization agrees the Vikings need a young quarterback should make it obvious Ponder isn’t at the center of the team’s plans.
    “There’s a business side and there’s a reason things get done. I think Matt is interested and he liked his experience here,” Turner said. “I think he’s excited about the things we’re doing, the things we’ve done. I’ve known him for quite a while. We’ve talked football. So, I don’t think I’m surprised by him opting out, if that’s what he did. I’m not sure that’s final or done yet. But I’m excited to work with Matt.”
    From Ben Goessling, ESPN.

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      • cc, video interviews and pressers with DC and OC are on vikings.com

        norv just gave the comfortable response on ponder, not a glowing endorsement. norv will run the offense, and that’s what he’s best at. i was impressed, norv is confident. forget ben, go listen to it for yourself, it’s good, you’ll feel even better

        the DC on the other hand, he’ll be that in name only. he said zim will be involved, “without a doubt”. last month zim said the D was his baby, he’ll run the defense

        norv said troy aikman told him he and zim should pair up, that they’d be good together. hehe. i agree

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  13. norv said about his future QB 1 football smarts 2 accuracy 3 physical skills…….interesting

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  14. “I’ve been impressed with Christian and the things he does in terms of his movement. He throws extremely well on the run. He’s made the big plays,” Turner said. “The starting point with any quarterback for me is eliminating negative plays and that would be one of our starting points.”

    Everyone knows Ponder moves well. No big suprise. But when Turner talks about fixing Ponder’s negitive plays… he makes it sound like he is starting from the beginning, scratch or as if he was a young rookie.

    I’m not sure if that is really a glowing report… and he didn’t say Ponder was the starter. However, it does indicate Norv has been thinking about what it would take to turn Ponder into a good QB. So, he must have some plan in place for Ponder.

    At least Norv didn’t say, Ponder gives us the best chance to win.

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    • i remember at least one of these coaches saying, i think it had to be zimmer, that he was a ‘fixer’, and he has taken disregarded players and improved them, but not to worry, carl, norv also said they were looking to add a young QB

      btw, cassel has opted out

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  15. all this ponder talk by coaches just says he won’t be cut or traded until after draft or even spring camps…figure out “all”other options at QB then decide…..after all, he is our only QB under contract…..coaches are just saying the right stuff at this juncture…..other most awesome thing Norv said was what we VTers have been saying all year, spread the offense out and get AD running in space, not just tight formations up the gut take a pounding for one yard 20 times waiting to bust one long one….keep him healthy and strong…..loved hearing that!

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  16. Right on K. I’m becoming a fan of getting more blue chippers on DEF, and trusting these coaches to find a gem QB later on. LBs, O Line. C YA Erin! Wonder if Simpson is next.

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  17. cassell is just taking care of business….prolly lookin for 3 yr 9M, 6M guaranteed, so even if cut after 2 yrs he makes 6M instead of the 3.7M on his option with us…..and he’s still “in the mix” to be a Viking, I’m sure……….thought came to me a while back: I wonder how much money Gase lost by not getting a HC job before the Super Bowl?

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  18. I liked the Edwards presser when he said that the best players would play no matter what.

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  19. Has anyone done a wellness check on the Mr. Warwas?
    That Erring Henderson news must be like a gut punch to our favorite Hack Blogger

    Externalize those dreadful emotions next time you have a Twitter throw down with Chris Cook

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    • I’m guessing that between work and family our fearless leader doesn’t have any spare time on his hands.

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  20. if i remember right, he was expecting it. i’m curious what the vikes do with all that cap room. maybe ‘spielio’ can do some damage while letting the coaches find the QB.

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  21. What’s with that tweet saying Vikes are interested in re-signing Chris Cook? Must be some kind of sick joke. Let him walk already, 0 ints in 4 years. Often injured or in trouble, enough said.

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    • Although there might be some entertainment value in watching Zimmer interact with Cook a time or two, johnny.

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    • Zimmer can fix guys with talent that just needs their head screwed on straight but Cook just doesn’t have any ball skills and I don’t know if that can be fixed. I’ll agree with Coach and say it would be cool to see Zimmer and Cook going at it on the sidelines, they would have to cut the audio.

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      • Cook’s biggest problem is that he can’t stay healthy. I don’t think Zimmer or anyone else in the league can fix that. I would retain him for a minimum deal, but they shouldn’t count on him starting.

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  22. By ” fix” does Zimmer mean neauter?
    If so, then by all means, sign Cook. The Vikings can then re-cut him after preseason.

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    • I actually think there is a lot of merit to the Vick/Vikings rumors as he is such a good vertical passer. The problem with Vick is the same problem I mentioned above with Cook, the guy can’t stay healthy. It just becomes a question of how much money can you invest in a player that you need to assume will only give you 8-12 games over the course of the year.

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      • I have never been a Vick fan, so I don’t know what to think about Vick becoming a Viking.

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        • idk what to think, either. i just know there’s a joke there somewhere with yardbarker, vick, fixers, and neutering being involved, but i can’t think of one

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  23. eagles had a lot of talent and they became a much better team as soon as vick hit the bench…..no way sign him…..I’d rather sign cassell than vick if had to…I don’t believe our new coach will start out with a big question mark at QB….to me, vick is a ?

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    • I don’t know Krug, I think all of our options at QB this year are question marks. The rookies are all ? guys, the vets we expect to be available are all short term bridge type players to your rookies. Even the young QB’s that might be up for grabs on the trade market like Mallett and Cousins have such limited experience that I wouldn’t call them sure things. I’m not really advocating for Vick, but I could see him being just as legitimate an option as any of the other vets. I would really like to see them get someone who can start 16 games, so I’m not too thrilled about the idea, but I think he could succeed in Turner’s offense.

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      • Dan…..so easy for us to judge, but hey, we’re fans…..what I meant with the ? is the whole lifestyle thing with vick…the houses, the family, the friends, the gambling, the money, the “I didn’t know what was happening”, in football, out of football, starter, benched, etc etc…..I just don’t see Zimmer saying “let’s start my NFL coaching career with vick”…..somewhere between vick and tebow there lies a QB to lead the Purple to the promised land…makes me wonder if we’ll bring all the QBs in for a visit, or will we sneak off and try out some in secret?

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  24. Vikes brought in former NFL center Hank Fraley as assistant O-line coach. Only reason I mention it is because he coached at SJSU last year so he got to see David Fales on a daily basis.

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    • That’s the kind of research I love…..keep ‘em comin’, Dan

      already checked my work schedule for May 8th………I feel the 3-day flu coming on somewhere around 4 PM on May 8th…….just a feelin’ I have……I come from a long line of German Norwegian Polaks who always seem to get sick around May 8th…..

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        • Coach, are you tellin’ me fishing season opens on draft day? I grew up fishing walleyes in MN with my dad…….hmmmmm, if I was still in MN think I’d record draft and head for the detroit lakes area!

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          • Apparently the draft is during the week, I was still thinking Saturday like the old days. I think you’ll likely be over that flu bug by the 11th, Krug.

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  25. yes, Coach, it goes back for generations in my family, 72 hrs after coming on (out of no where) it just suddenly goes away…..it is, in some ways, a curse, but I have done my best to learn to live with it…..and I do thank you for your concern…..

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