Saturday, February 28, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "matt cassel"

matt cassel

It has been too long. I won’t bore you with reasons for my absence as none of the excuses are legitimate. Instead, I want to jump right back into being a more involved writer here at Vikings Territory. There have been quite a few things happening behind the scenes here at VT. We’ve definitely evolved in the quality and quantity of content. Above and beyond that, a complete redesign of the entire site should be making its way to all of you soon.

Enough of that, though.

We’re going to start a new reoccurring post here at Vikings Territory. It’s a pretty simple concept. Every week or so I will host various people out there on the interwebs and ask them a series of questions for them to respond to. The questions may be regarding a recent Vikings news talker. It might be an off-the-wall question that has nothing to do with the Vikings. Sometimes there may be a theme to the questions. Other times there won’t. Who knows? Quite honestly, it’s going to be whatever I think is fun and interesting that particular week. I do know that I will try and keep the questions light hearted and the responses blunt.

It won’t always be the same people. And it won’t always be writers from here at VT. We will try and mix it up and have an array of different people join in on the fun. And after our guests have provided their responses, I will end each question with a response of my own. There are two rules to make things more interesting:

  1. Responses must be less than 140 words. If the responder goes slightly over this boundary, they aren’t disqualified or anything. This isn’t a contest. Really, the restriction is to simplify things a little big and get a straight-forward answer.
  2. There are “Unacceptable Answers.” I will decide what these are on a case-by-case basis. Typically, I will try and think of answers that I deem unworthy. (Primarily because they don’t really answer the question.)

With that being said, let’s get to it. As it is the first installment of this post, I wanted to keep things in house. This week our guests are everyone’s favorite Vikings blogger Adam Warwas and our beloved Vikings super brain, Arif Hasan.

Norv Turner made some waves with Vikings fans this week by essentially suggesting that Christian Ponder is a better NFL quarterback than he is given credit for and insisting he is in the mix for first team consideration.

I agree that the negative attention plaguing Ponder is perhaps out of proportion with his actual on-field failures, and that he may have done better as a newcomer under different circumstances or with another team, but there are very few that will believe Turner is actually considering Ponder as a potential week one starter.

Matt Cassel is pretty much the incumbent at this point and is taking the most first team repetitions.  Rookie Teddy Bridgewater looks to be the second team leader right now with the clear potential to push for the top spot.  That presumably leaves Ponder floundering about at the bottom of the depth chart with swirling trade rumors, speculation about being cut this year, and with no contractual stability.

The excitement of free agency has yet to wear down, but the details of certain contracts are starting to be revealed.  Yesterday we looked at the hefty deal given to defensive end Everson Griffen and most of you thought it was worthy of an “A” or “B” grade.  Now we’re looking at the guy we had listed as the top Vikings free agent of the offseason (Griffen was number two).

Quarterback Matt Cassel had leverage the minute he voided the second and final year of his contract with the Vikings.  It was arguably impossible for the Vikings to find a free agent better than Cassel and Christian Ponder was the only quarterback left on the roster.  Thus, he was able to gain more money and slightly more long-term security by doing so.

Cassel, who had a hand in each of the Vikings wins from last season, remains with the team under a new two year deal worth up to $10.5 million.  According to Spotrac, Cassel’s deal $5.65 million in guarantees and he will a $5.75 million cap hit this season.  The Vikings could cut ties next season with minimal impact to the cap situation.

Cassel still isn’t any sort of long-term franchise quarterback at 31 years old, but Rick Spielman would have been totally hanging his neck out there if he went into May’s Draft with Christian Ponder as his only viable option at the league’s most important position.  The Cassel signing gives the Vikings a playable quarterback, a trustworthy veteran mentor, and some much needed flexibility in the Draft.

Adam’s Grade:  A

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.

 The well-traveled Norv Turner is officially the new Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator. Unless Turner decides to show a new wrinkle at age 61, it’s safe to say the Vikings will employ a vertical passing attack mixed with a power running game long known as the Air Coryell offensive system.

 Turner takes over a Vikings’ offense that was ranked 23rd in passing in 2013, yet he has plenty of talent at the skill positions to work with moving forward. Norv Turner must be sleeping easy at night thinking about the damage Adrian Peterson could do running out of a spread formation. And the thought of a big TE like Kyle Rudolph with great hands and enough speed to stretch the field vertical, certainly has him dreaming of sugar-plums and candy canes. But possibly the sweetest vision dancing in Turner’s head might be his plan to develop Cordarrelle Patterson as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.

 Before all the dreaming can become a reality though, Turner must find the long term answer at the quarterback position. The Vikings have the eighth pick in this year’s draft, so you can bet landing a franchise quarterback is high on Turners wish list.

 What does a typical Air Coryell quarterback look like? What quarterbacks in the 2014 draft fit the Norv Turner mold?

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