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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

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. I don’t know about an A. We are talking about Matt Cassel here. But there wasn’t many good options out there…and Ponder is still here. So, how about an A-.

  2. he ain’t great, so this one’s a B for me, for the reasons you cited and that he’s had one year of familiarity with the vikes. let’s face it, we are almost more hard-up for a QB than a packer fan on a saturday night after a sheep slaughter

    1. i see i’ve tracked something in on the bottom of my shoes. phacker fans, could you please wipe that off for me while you’re down there?

  3. Insanity is when you continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

    You all are delusional to think this is an “A” deal–even a “B” deal. Do any of you remember last season?Did you completely forget this guy leading us into Cincinnati only to throw 3 picks, 1 TD, below 50% completions and not extending a drive for more than 5 plays?!?! Honestly–I hate to be Negative Ned here–but how quickly you forget!

    Not only did this guy perform below average statistically relative to all other league QBs last year, he also was statistically nearly identical to Ponder. Then he voids his contract to gain the upper hand with management, and we say “he’s smart”; essentially he made our beloved franchise pay upwards of $10 million for persistent mediocrity. This guy is smiley-glad hands at the end of his career trying to grind out a few extra dollars, and we pile it on as we did with so many other washed up QBs in the past. This is sickening.

    Think about this: We paid the same to Cassel as the Bucs paid to McCown. Look at the statistics. One is not like the other.

    We could have done better. At this point I would rather play out Ponder’s contract for less money than reward this guy.

    This is a “D”.

    Epic management fail.

    1. Man I agree with you 100%. If this was our long term solution at quarterback and not a one to two year temp job I would give it an A. Matt Cassel is a backup quarterback, so he gets an A grade for opting out of his contract and getting and extra 3 million and a third year in Minnesota.

      I certainly would not agree that it was arguably impossible to find a better option than Cassel with McCown and even Vick available. We haven’t had a franchise quarterback in a very long time and Adrian Peterson deserves an opportunity to play with an elite quarterback. Teams will continue to stack 8 in the box against him continuing to make his job difficult.

    2. I graded this a F. Cassel was horrible last year. Ponder had better numbers and put up more points, and Ponder was horrible.

  4. I also graded it a D. It’s not that I think it’s a bad signing, it’s that we know what he’s going to bring. There are players that isn’t true for that we could have gotten cheaply in trades. I’d be interested in Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, and Matt McGloin as a short term cheap starter and draft a guy this year or next. Cassel has no upside whatsoever.

  5. I gave this signing a B and here’s why. Cassel did play all that bad. He has much better chemistry with Jennings by far over Ponder. IT is not an A because he is just a bridge QB until our new pup (whoever that will be) gets up to speed. He the best out of a very weak QB free agent group.

  6. I’m giving the Cassel signing an A.

    Cassel can read a defense and get rid of the ball quickly!!!!
    In 6 starts Cassel attempted 254 passes, and was only sacked 16 times. 5.9% sack rate.
    Ponder in 9 starts only attempted 239 passes, and was sacked 27 times. 10.2% sack rate.

    I hate sacks!

  7. I would say the only reason it should be greatded as an A, is because there is no other quarterbacks that were on the market that I feel would have done better

  8. I’m giving him a solid B. If it weren’t for a couple of games last year when I wondered where the QB the week before went, I’d have given him an A.

    I also give keeping Ponder on the roster a B, believe it or not. I still don’t think the guy is through and as a backup, he’s decent. He got thrown to the wolves too soon and it may have shaken his confidence. Maybe a little time with Norval, he’ll make some improvements.
    At any rate, we’ll have two QB’s on the roster that can at least manage a game while we wait on Zimmer and Turner to finish re-building and grooming our next franchise QB the next two years.

  9. Behold the Rick Spielman Era of Quarterbacking Curiosities:

    2006 Draft: Tarvaris Jackson
    2006 Trade: Brooks Bollinger
    2007 Trade: Kelly Holcomb
    2007 Draft: Tyler Thigpen
    2008 Draft: John David Booty
    2008 Free Agency: Gus Frerotte
    2009 D/T: Sage Rosenfels
    2009 FA: Brett Favre
    2010 Draft: Joe Webb
    2010 FA: Tarvaris Jackson
    2011 Draft: Christian Ponder
    2011 Trade: Donovan McNabb
    2012 FA: McLeod Bethel-Thompson
    2013 FA: Matt Cassel
    2013 FA: Josh Freeman
    2014 FA: Matt Cassel

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