Wednesday, July 29, 2015

christian ponder

Matt Cassel knows he is being brought in not to compete with starting quarterback Christian Ponder, but to be his backup.

“Backup plan” might be a more accurate description for the thinking behind signing the 30 year old quarterback, given Christian Ponder’s sure-to-be short leash as he enters his third season in the NFL.

“They conveyed exactly that,” Cassel said on Thursday, “That Christian obviously had a great year last year, they went 10-6 and that he’s their starting quarterback and that they’re looking to bring somebody in with experience and somebody that will come in and basically be somebody who can step in if need be.”

“The fact of the matter is, again, Christian’s the starting quarterback and I think that we’ll have a great room. I’m there to add value. I’m there to help him out in whatever capacity that is and go from there.”

Contrary to numerous reports that say Cassel signed a one year deal worth $4 million, we believe that Cassel’s deal is actually for two years with an option for him to void it after one.  We also believe his 2013 cap hit will actually be less than $4 million.

I have to say, I am having a hard time thinking of a quarterback that has been (or is) on the open market this offseason that is a better and more accomplished quarterback than Cassel.  An argument could be made that Ryan Fitzpatrick qualifies, but an argument equally as strong could be made that the Vikings went out and got the best available quarterback this year.

After watching our playoff game at Green Bay last season it is hard to criticize anything about this move, even if the money is a tad on the highside for a backup quarterback.

The Minnesota Vikings were patient, waiting for quarterback Matt Cassel to be released instead of trying to trade for him, and that patience has paid off.

Cassel was signed to a two year worth about $4 million per year, according to Viking Update, with a potential to earn more through incentives. Cassel also reportedly has the right to void the contract after the 2013 season.

Cassel represents the first NFL player the Vikings have signed who wasn’t one of their own since free agency began on Tuesday.  Some national experts are reporting that Cassel will compete with Christian Ponder for the starting quarterback spot, but local media is brushing that off since the Vikings are so invested into Ponder, and I tend to think Ponder will be the guy without a doubt.

With that being said, Cassel presents the Vikings with some flexibility at the position.  Joe Webb and McLeod Bethel-Thompson will currently be in line to compete for the number three spot, but one will surely be sent packing as a result of this move, and some speculation that makes sense centers around trying to trade Joe Webb to an option offense team.  The situation will get even more interesting if the Vikings take a page out the Seattle Seahawks playbook in 2012 and decide to use one of their 11 draft picks on a quarterback, as well.

The signing of Cassel come on a day when reciever Greg Jennings is reportedly meeting with the team in Minnesota, and linebacker Brian Urlacher is reportedly of interest, which shows an interesting shift in priorities for the Vikings front office.  It was widely assumed that Rick Spielman and his staff would continue to pursue younger players with upside, as they did last season in an effort to rebuild the roster, but so far most of the serious interest seems to be in veterans.

Cassel is 30 years old.

The Vikings might not think they need to upgrade their starting quarterback position, but if the one playoff game they were able to play last season proved anything, it is that they desperately need a better backup option.

The Vikings have been linked, in passing, to Chiefs soon-to-be-displaced quarterback Matt Cassel ever since news broke that the Chiefs were swinging a trade for Alex Smith.  Cassel was believed to be a candidate for release as recently as Wednesday, but now the Chiefs appear to have held off on that with hopes of finding a trade partner.

One of those trade partners might be the Vikings.  The rumors continued to filter through the likes of Twitter and other unreliable sources of information, but it also started to get some attention from more main stream media outlets, and it appears as though this might have some legs behind it.

“Continue to hear Vikings really like Cassel,” NFL Network‘s Jason La Canfora tweeted late on Wednesday.

This is about the most quarterback-less offseason I can remember, as the Draft and free agent class are both greatly lacking any star power, but there are still some options that exist that would not require any picks to obtain.  Recently released Ryan Fitzpatrick and free agent Tyler Thigpen are both available, as is veteran signal caller Jason Campbell.

Cassel is currently set to make $7.5 million in 2013, the same salary the Vikings were in line to pay Antoine Winfield, but I would assume a new contract would be a top priority if they did decide to trade to obtain Cassel as a backup to Christian Ponder.  His 2014 salary is scheduled to increase to $9 million, according to Rotoworld.  

We are now two days deep into free agency and the Vikings have yet to sign any players that didn’t play for them last year, but at least the rumor mill is starting to heat up.

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6

Percy Harvin seems very happy to be a millionaire in a new location that, incidentally enough, has no income tax and just legalized marijuana (yup, had to go there).

Despite all of the drama that led up to his eventual trade to Seattle, Harvin had nothing but nice things to say about the Minnesota Vikings and their fans.

“I have nothing but love for that whole Vikings organization,” Harvin told NFL Network. “And from the texts I’ve been getting today and yesterday, they have nothing but love for me.”

“It’s absolutely false. Me and Coach Frazier have a great relationship,” he said when asked about reports that he was, at least at times, at odds with coach Leslie Frazier. “He has the utmost respect for me, and I have the utmost respect for him.”

Then Harvin laid some of the blame for the drama at the feet of the media.

“We were talking almost every day (and) texting each other,: he said.  “We both understood what the situation was. I think this whole thing was blown up (by media). We did have our ups and downs.”

Harvin was briefly pressed about his opinion of quarterback Christian Ponder.  While he was plenty willing to rave about his new quarterback Russell Wilson, and plenty willing to say he had love for the Minnesota Vikings, he opted for a “no comment” on the Ponder question.

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5

Percy Harvin is currently being introduced to Seattle, via a press conference being broadcast on NFL Network, which is just painful to watch.

Harvin went out of his way to thank “Vikings Nation” which included the fans and organization, saying that it was a great four year run.  Harvin went on to describe being a Seahawk as a “big relief,” however, and had a million dollar smile from the get-go.

He went out of his way to say that Russell Wilson’s comparisons to Brett Favre were very attractive to him when agreeing to making Seattle his new team (the trade had to have been contingent on a new deal for him, so he did have some control) which seems to confirm that Harvin did not view Christian Ponder as a passer with what it takes to win the Super Bowl.

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