Free Agency

2014 NFL Free Agency: Matt Cassel, Marcus Sherels Re-Sign with the Minnesota Vikings

On the cusp of the “legal tampering period,” Ian Rapaport reports that the Minnesota Vikings have re-signed veteran quarterback Matt Cassel.

Earlier today, the Vikings also announced that they resigned cornerback and punt returner Marcus Sherels.

Cassel may have been an extremely up-and-down quarterback this last year, but this re-signing is probably a good thing. It may mean that the Vikings wouldn’t go after potentially more tantalizing targets like Michael Vick or Josh McCown, but with those two at the top of the free agency market for quarterbacks, it wasn’t a good group to begin with.

Between Cassel and Ponder, Cassel showed significantly higher highs, but also on occasion lower lows, with his game-by-game performance:

Cassel and Ponder's game-by-game performance, according to various metrics
Cassel and Ponder’s game-by-game performance, according to various metrics

While Ponder was more consistent, he was consistently bad, while Cassel’s volatility produced above-average games. Even from a film-perspective, the difference between Cassel against Philadelphia, one of the single-most compelling performances for any quarterback this year, and his game against Seattle or Carolina, both depressing.

Cassel did a better job using the tools available to him on a more frequent basis and is still honestly one of the better backup quarterbacks in a league sorely lacking in quarterback options.

The roster needs to have a number of quarterbacks. They won’t all be young or have massive upside. Cassel can fill the role of a backup quarterback just fine, and could potentially help groom the next young Vikings quarterback, which is all he will be asked to do.

As for Sherels, he’s a player whose talent has gone from questionable to hopeful. His short period as a slot cornerback this year was promising (although he did have major miscues) and it looks like he could continue to be solid depth as a nickel corner while remaining one of the better punt returners in the league.

 

Update: Matt Cassel’s deal was two years for $10 million, which improves his option base salary of $3.75 million to an average salary of $5 million. Presumably, there is also more guaranteed money.

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Ole
Ole
7 years ago

Ok, looks as if SpielMullen has Plan B and the other Plan B solidly in place
Nice CYA Ricky Poo. Now go get a FA difference maker …….

Jeff
>>>>>>>Meta
>>>>>>>>>>>>>Universal
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Peace
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>?????????????? ….. Dugan!

fozz44
fozz44
7 years ago

Good backstop if they get a young ‘un that needs time to develop. Squashed the sign Vick or trade for Rivers etc. rumors.

Of the 41 in spending….does anyone know if that is on top of what’s slotted for their draft picks, or it will need to come out of that number?

fozz44
fozz44
7 years ago

Got it Arif…..so part of the 41M under the cap will be spent on the draft picks? Am I assuming correctly on that?

bjohnny
bjohnny
7 years ago

I think this was the right move. If Cassel starts the year as the number 1 and gets the reps it’s likely he will be more consistent. It has to be hard for a qb when they get jerked around like he was last year.

Richard Houston
Richard Houston
7 years ago

Statistically there wasn’t a significant difference between Cassel and Ponder except for the all-important Ws. In my opinion that suggests better decision making skills that hopefully can be shared with a rookie. Vick might have been a dynamic option but he has always opted to run out of trouble rather than throw. If he does throw under pressure its often to the wrong team.
Simply put, if we were looking for a rental to get us to the playoffs this year, Vick was probably a fair choice. If we are looking for a vet to teach our QBOTF I think Cassel makes more sense.

Ole
Ole
7 years ago

The Vikings personnel issues begin with a legitimate offensive threat. Admittedly, Adrian Peterson is an above average football player, (he’s stellar at procreation). Peterson severely lacks the capacity to disable those pesky officials who cost the Vikings 20-25 TD’s last season.

A “team” concept is what the Vikings truly need. You can’t spell team without an “a”. You also can’t spell “Dugan” with out an “a”. It’s the missing piece to the puzzle. The Vikings need to fill the “a” hole. I suggest they sign the biggest “a” hole filler on the planet. Jeff Meta Universal Peace Dugan – The A Hole!

CalVkg
CalVkg
Reply to  Ole
7 years ago

they can’t sign him until he returns. he had to go over and annex the Crimea region of Ukraine to the USA. putin hates A hole fillers

yortzme
yortzme
7 years ago

Yes we dodged the Vick train before it derailed.

Joe M
Joe M
Reply to  yortzme
7 years ago

Dodged or dogged? ahhhahaha.

B. Grant
B. Grant
7 years ago

Really glad to see our SE hero Marcus staying in the fold. He’s a darn good kid, I think the new staff will like him.
Nice chart Arif, but I gotta admit the “NFL average” line is the only one that makes any sense. Shouldn’t there be numbers or words along the bottom and the left side?

B. Grant
B. Grant
Reply to  Arif Hasan
7 years ago

OK, that makes sense. More of a visual than an actual source of hard data. Thanks.

fozz44
fozz44
7 years ago

Cassel and Ponder were similarly poor in so many situations. I do like that Christian was only sacked half as many times as Matt…..but other than that….meh.

krugjr
krugjr
7 years ago

Zimmer is great…..how refreshing it is to hear our HC say that his final roster will determine what style football is played……his dad taught him that…..same with whatever QB we end up with, average, above average or great…Zimmer and Turner will get the most out of every player by coaching to the player’s strengths…..how long I have waited to have a HC like that in the land of Purple!

Yes, Ole, Dugan would become a pro bowler under the Zimmer regime…..

krugjr
krugjr
7 years ago

I think Cassel’s signing means there are 2-3 QBs Turner would be willing to work with that will go in rounds 1-3, however they “fall”…..BPA will be our theme in the draft…..Rick says the final decision is his…..but I see Zimmer and Turner “telling” Rick what that decision should be…..

by the way, I believe 2-3 yrs ago we all agreed that someone should do a big time movie on the draft…..thank you, Kevin!

KDNY
KDNY
7 years ago

Both Cassel and Ponder are suck. Their QB ratings are below the average in most of the games….Is $5M a reasonable salary for the back-up QB?

krugjr
krugjr
Reply to  KDNY
7 years ago

KDNY…..give Cassel some time with Turner instead of Musgrave and then post again…..the fact that he signed early also tells me he wants to be here…..and that’s always a good thing…..

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  KDNY
7 years ago

Who said he was the backup? I think he is the starter while they develop a young QB.

Joe M
Joe M
7 years ago

Great!
Next FA singings:
Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Linval Joseph, New York Giants
Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans

Then draft a DT, LB, CB and Guard.

Or how about Watkins or Evans in the 1st round. Give Matt another target.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  Joe M
7 years ago

Like your FA list Joe…but I do think we need to draft a QB. Cassel is…Cassel.

Joe M
Joe M
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

Yes a QB. That goes without saying. Not sure why it was not 1st on my draft list list comment.

Should have put 2 LB’s there as well. How sweet would Mack or Mosley in the 1st and Shazier in the 2nd be? Along with Greenway and you are instantly one of the better LB groups in the league.

If I were boss, I would look like crazy for the best deal to move down to as low as 18 in the draft. Depending on how the QB’s go, one of the top 3 may slide or maybe take Carr there. Even if they are all gone by 18 there will be DT’s, LB’s, CB’s and maybe a safety that would not be a reach and fill a need.

Then grab which ever QB is Coach Turners favorite later – Garoppolo, Mettenberger, McCarron, Murray etc.

If the Vikings fill some needs through FA, they may be able to take a top WR at in the 1st round. I know WR is not there highest priority but that may be the easiest way to make an impact on this team. Think about it, Peterson in the backfield with Patterson, Jennings and either Watkins or Evans at WR. I think Cassel can manage the group very well. Throw in an upgrade at guard and on paper this looks like a nice offense. Coach Turner with those weapons, wow the potential.

Speaking of offense, how about Trey Mason in the 2nd round? If he happens to be there in the 3rd (some mocks have him there) I would run to the podium.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  Joe M
7 years ago

Agree about the LB’s ….getting Mack would not be bad. A lot depends on FA. Not really crazy about any of these QB’s, so getting one later might be best.
If Mason is there in the 3rd? Yeah, AD ain’t getting any younger.
But, besides OG and QB….Defense, Defense, Defense!

Joe M
Joe M
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

So, you don’t like the WR pick in the 1st. That’s OK cause we agree on most things, like being tortured Viking fans.

Love this web site and blog. I live in NJ. not many Vikings fans here to discuss my favorite purple team.

CalVkg
CalVkg
7 years ago

not a bad move. not a lot of money if he’s starting, and a better mentor than vick would’ve been. just don’t like vick after the dog stuff, anyway, and he didn’t study and work at being a good QB. sherels is doing his job and he’s a homer, so that’s not bad, either

B. Grant
B. Grant
7 years ago

As various media outlets talk about available FA QB’s, I notice that Josh Freeman’s name is seldom mentioned. His comeback trail looks to be a very long one.

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  B. Grant
7 years ago

That is weird, isn’t it? Freeman has the arm, he’s fairly athletic, been to a pro Bowl, first round pick, only 26 and NO ONE is calling. That one debacle of a game he played couldn’t be the reason.
Has to be something very wrong with this dude behind the scenes.

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

Fran, I read that he was late for a lot of meetings and was the last one in the facility and the first one to leave throughout the week. Obviously he does not take his job seriously.

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

I had heard that too but if he’s anything approaching an elite QB, being late to meetings would be overlooked. Has to be more to the story.

LoganChin
LoganChin
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

some things can only be overlooked for so long before they become a problem

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
7 years ago

As far as the Cassel signing, I guess it’s the best we could do. Obviously we’re a year or two from contention and this gives us the time we’ll need to bring along who ever we pick up in the draft this year.
Of course the optimistic side of me remembers that year Cassel took over from Brady. . .
Shoot! We could be going to the Super Bowl this year!

Purple Charlie
Purple Charlie
7 years ago

Fran
I’m jumping on board 🙂

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  Purple Charlie
7 years ago

Charlie, that was me that gave you the thumbs down. I hit it
by mistake. I got big fat fingers and there isn’t a lot of room between the two! Sorry about that.

Purple Charlie
Purple Charlie
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

Fran
No problem, I’m thick skinned. Have to be I’m a Vikings fan !

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  Purple Charlie
7 years ago

I had heard that too but if he’s anything approaching an elite QB, being late to meetings would be overlooked. Has to be more to the story.

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

Of course once again I put that comment in the wrong spot.
Meant to say here; BOY Howdy! (On the thick skin)

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
7 years ago

Good, I like Sherels. Very good punt returner. And there were times last year when, Rhodes got hurt, that I truly believe he was the best corner on the field. Not that he’s all that as a DB…just how bad the team is.
I’m with the Cassel signing. 1st, it means no Vick…whew! Dude is a turnover waiting to happen. 2nd, we could be getting closer to Ponder being cut or traded. Cassel is not the answer at QB, he is better than Ponder or Vick. And seems like a good vet to have for a young QB named Johnny FOOTBALL!

Norseman66
Norseman66
7 years ago

Just read that The eagles are also very interested in Michael Johnson. This could turn into a bidding war for him. However, we do have Zim so that could be a big factor.

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

Norse, I hope you’re scouring all the rumor mills and find us something to chew on.

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  bjohnny
7 years ago

No promises Johnny, but if there is something out there that could affect the Vikes I’ll post it. I am very curious what Spielman and company are going to do this year. We could really plug some holes before the draft.

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

I hope Ricky doesn’t disappoint us in free agency this time around. He finally has the cap room and I think he will listen to Zimmer and co. Seems to be a genuine trust between Ricky and Zim.

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  bjohnny
7 years ago

Yeah, looks like they have a good relationship. I will give Ricky credit and taking a back seat and listening to Zimmer and Turner. Not many GM’s are willing to do that.

Norseman66
Norseman66
7 years ago

Hey Johnny, found something to chew. Just read that the Vikes are showing interest in Verner. He was coached by Jerry Gray the past 3 seasons in Tennesse. Zimmer hired Gray as the Vikings DB coach. So there ya go!

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

Fingers crossed. He would be a huge addition at a position of weakness and knock cb down the draft list a little.

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  bjohnny
7 years ago

Agreed. If we can get a CB, DE and LB in free agency, the Vikes can really set themselves up for a great draft and much improved team. I am also hoping Zimmer can convince LB Vincent Rey from the Bengals to come on over.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

Verner would be great!

B. Grant
B. Grant
7 years ago

Reading between the lines, Zimmer seems pretty big on loyalty. That may mean that he will be careful to not appear to “raid” the Bengal squad. If someone is clearly leaving, yes, no question, but it seems like he wouldn’t be one to burn a bridge by prying a player away. I know all about the “it’s a business” thing, but there are some even in the business world who have certain internal rules.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
7 years ago

This
http://espn.go.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/5295/vikings-interested-in-michael-johnson
And heard that Pellisero wrote that he’d be surprised if the Vikings didn’t make a run at Paul Soliai.

Also seeing that the Vikes are the favorites to get Johnson and Verner.
All this just might be too much…I’m going to get some Colt 45’s, now.

B. Grant
B. Grant
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

We’re gonna need a roster in our hands for the first couple of games this year, aren’t we cart.

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  B. Grant
7 years ago

At first I thought you meant “Rooster” and I was sort of agreeing; Take a rooster out to the 50 yard line, make a sacrifice. . .still might not be a bad idea.

B. Grant
B. Grant
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

I gotta say, Fran… that’s pretty wierd. What you say we stick with roster and call it good?

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  B. Grant
7 years ago

At least he didn’t say virgin Coach:)

Fran the Man
Fran the Man
Reply to  bjohnny
7 years ago

Yeah but I have to admit, I was thinking it.
As Coach so kindly pointed out on another thread, I’ m getting pretty long in the tooth.
Having rooted for my beloved Vikings for over 50 years now, I’d march a sacred Cow out onto the field and sacrifice it if I thought that would get us a Super Bowl win.

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  Fran the Man
7 years ago

Like the saying goes Fran “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  B. Grant
7 years ago

And that’d be a good thing Coach, especially on defense.

bjohnny
bjohnny
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

Easy now CC. We are talking about the Vikings here, never get your hopes too high. Let’s wait for some contracts to be signed before we get too wound up.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  bjohnny
7 years ago

I know Johnny, we probably won’t get any of those guys…and now the beer is gone.
Life as a Viking fan…

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

Well we have a contract signing. Vikes signed Griffen to a 5 year deal. I would have to think that the price of Michael Johnson was getting way to expensive.

Norseman66
Norseman66
7 years ago

I read that this was a “huge” deal. It will be interesting to see what the numbers will be.

c.carterhof
c.carterhof
Reply to  Norseman66
7 years ago

This is good…Griffen is a damn good player. A very athletic big dude. That probably ends the Johnson deal.

Norseman66
Norseman66
Reply to  c.carterhof
7 years ago

Yeah I would say that would be a fair assumption. He is a good player and I think Zimmer will get even more out of him. I am sure he was cheaper than Johnson. I hope they use that savings and get a top corner now.

Norseman66
Norseman66
7 years ago

He are the numbers: 5 years, $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed.

Norseman66
Norseman66
7 years ago

Holy crap! they also signed Jasper Brinkley. Wow and why?

史上最も激スキー スノー atomic
6 years ago

What’s up, I check your blogs daily. Your writing style is
awesome, keep it up!

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