Friday, January 30, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "matt cassel"

matt cassel

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

From top to bottom, left to right, we will be surveying the NFL’s 2015 free agency class and attempting to predict what the Vikings will do to improve their depth chart.

For the first time in a long time, the Vikings have essentially no need at quarterback, with Teddy Bridgewater doing enough in his rookie season to have us all hopeful that he can become one of the greats.  As the Seattle Seahawks have proven, having a young and inexpensive starting quarterback can lead to an era filled with great things, and the Vikings are hoping to duplicate that success with Bridgewater at the helm.

Bridgewater should only count $1.6 million against the 2015 salary cap.  Christian Ponder, the third quarterback on the depth chart, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and it seems unlikely that the Vikings will try to stop him.

If any drama surrounds the Vikings quarterback position this offseason, it will likely involve veteran Matt Cassel.  He is scheduled to carry a cap hit of $4.75 million and is owed a half million dollar roster bonus on the seventh day of the new league year.  Conversely, the Vikings can opt out of the second half of this two-year deal and find a backup replacement, or even try to negotiate Cassel’s return on a lessened salary.

Matt Cassel was our starting quarterback to start 2014 and he is a highly regarded professional that certainly seems to fit the mold of “veteran mentor.”  Still, I can’t help but think the business sense will overrule the perceived upside Cassel brings to the table, and I expect he will be released with the possibility of a return under a new contract.

If Ponder leaves, the Vikings opt out of their Cassel contract, and they want to have four quarterbacks to kick off training camp then they will almost certainly be active in the second and third tiers of free agency.  That happens to work out fairly well, as a “first tier” free agent quarterback doesn’t seem to actually exist.

Brady & Wake

Last week, Nathan Kearns of Ramblin Fan took a stab at answering five questions about the St. Louis Rams before the Vikings came to town.  We appreciated him taking the time to do it, and I think his attempts to predict the future contained lots of great information, but I’d bet he’d like to have his prediction back after the Vikings gave the Rams the horns.

Next up are the storied New England Patriots, but this week’s guest isn’t underestimating the Vikings, especially after the Patriots were upstaged by the Dolphins in Week One.

Morgan Smith of Patriots Gab took time out of her week to answer some questions for us and I think you’ll be plenty interested to get her take on the upcoming game.  Be sure to follow Morgan on Twitter, if only for a little fun trash talking during the rest of this week, by clicking here.

The Dolphins seemed to draw a map for future teams when it comes to overwhelming the offensive line and flustering Tom Brady.  Do you think this will become a pattern with the Vikings up next or was this a one-time fluke?

There is a blueprint against every team, and last week was the blueprint against the Pats. Last year, Cincinnati beat the Pats by doing what Miami did, and the Patriots were just as bad on offense. The blueprint is there, but not every team can execute it and not every team uses it. To beat New England you have to get pressure on Tom Brady, and it has to be constant throughout the game.

The offensive line isn’t the same as it was before when Brady barely got hit, they are allowing more hits on Brady than he’s ever had, so New England has to make some personnel changes on the line before this Sunday, because the Vikings will get to Brady. Maybe add Josh Kline to the line and take out Jordan Devy, and allow Wendell to play more over Marcus Cannon, or Bryan Stork gets to play. They have to figure something out by Sunday because the Vikings had 5 sacks against the Rams, so they can generate pressure.

We will see if Minnesota can execute the blueprint and if New England can adjust.

It’s been a couple of days since we’ve had a training camp update here on VT. I’ve scoured the internet and curated it below. I will be in Mankato Friday and Saturday at Vikings Training Camp and will have more content to share with everyone at that time. I’ll also be tweeting furiously so make sure to follow me (@brettAnderson87) if you aren’t already.

Quarterback Trio - Vikings Training Camp 2014
Photo courtesy of Chris Price

Injuries

Let’s get the injury related news out of the way starting with Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson, dealing with a foot injury, was a full participant today for the first time this training camp. The injury is not believed to be serious and Patterson’s absence comes off as precautionary. Still, it’s a good sign he’s back with the team.

Captain Munnerlyn, who is dealing with a minor hamstring injury, was activated off the PUP list but was not a participant in team drills. Like Patterson, the injury is not believed to be serious.

Unfortunately, Robert Blanton got added to the injury list today. Blanton pulled his hamstring during blitz drills. Zimmer did not share with media how long Blanton would be out but it’s bad news for Blanton who had been taking most first-team reps alongside Harrison Smith.

Andrew Sendejo, who had offseason back surgery and hasn’t participated in practice to date, could return as soon as Monday, per Zimmer.

Other injury casualties include Josh Robinson who cut practice short with hamstring tightness and AC Leonard who had a headache. Zimmer did refer to Josh Robinson’s early departure as “preventative.”

Quarterbacks

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Everyone wants to know about how the quarterbacks are faring so far. Everything I’ve heard or read is that Teddy Bridgewater has been super impressive and slowly closing (bridging?!) the gap separating himself and Matt Cassel. During last night’s team practice, Bridgewater dazzled many fans and members of the media going 12-for-13 with his only incompletion coming from a drop at the hands of UDFA AC Leonard. Bridgewater’s performance earned him first-team reps in today’s practice.

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The 2014 Minnesota Vikings are coming together.  Well, as much as possible for the 2nd day of training camp.  I’ve tried to summarize the major talking points from today’s practices.

Norv Turner Press Conference

  • Turner spoke extensively about wanting the Vikings to have an explosive offense.  Of all the words Turner used in his 20 minutes at the podium, explosive was likely used the most. There is no doubt that he intends to stretch the field and this offense will look very different from years past.

“We want to pick up first downs on 1st and 2nd down. We want to be a team that runs a lot of plays” Turner noted.

I found this pretty telling.  Since drafting Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have traditionally run the ball on 1st and 2nd down.  I sounds like Turner wants to keep defenses on their toes.

  • Turner also mentioned he thinks Peterson can hold his own not only catching the ball out of the backfield, but also in pass protection.  Turner did note, however, that defensive ends are bound to give any running back trouble in terms of pass protection.
  • On that topic, Turner went to great lengths to explain that Matt Asiata has really shown what he can do not only catching the ball, but also in pass protection.  Turner added, that Asiata is a great athlete and can be a running back who can really “pound it.”
  • Turner noted that the Vikings want to be a physical football team, and that will extend to the offense. Full back Jerome Felton is going to ‘block, block, block’ Turned commented and added that he will get Felton carries as well.  Something Felton saw very little of in Bill Musgrave’s offense.

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Alright, alright, alright… you came here to read about something other than Chris Kluwe and were majorly disappointed by what you found on our front page? I understand, I do.

Please let me redirect your attention to a number of our fine articles from all of our fine writers (and me) from the last week or so that don’t involve the end of humanity as we know it:

TRANSITION TO THE OUTDOORS – Brent

WOMEN IN SPORTS MEDIA – Lindsey

VIKINGS GOING FROM WORST TO FIRST – Carl

PROFILE OF ROOKIE ANTONE EXUM – Darren

RANKING MATT CASSEL AS A STARTER – Arif

EPISODE ONE OF “VT TALKERS” – Brett

Okay, I lied, I couldn’t find anything good at all written by me lately. I will say, though, that we are incredibly close to meeting our goal when it comes to our “Mission 2014″ fundraiser hoping to come together as a community and make a difference where one is needed.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about then please CLICK HERE and give it a read.

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