* Cassel holds a player option with the Vikings for 2014.
VIEW FROM THE VOX: We break from league-wide free agency to analyze Vikings QB MATT CASSEL, who can void his deal with the team by the end of the week. If he opts to stay the team has until early March to decide whether it wants to keep him -- and pay him the $3.7 million he'll be owed -- but if Cassel decides he wants to stay he'll be on the team next season.
Cassel was the best of the three QBs on the roster last year and gave the team a spark it failed to generate with CHRISTIAN PONDER and/or JOSH FREEMAN. His accuracy on the deep ball opened things for GREG JENNINGS, who caught all of his scores from Cassel. I think it's important to keep Matt on the roster and also believe the team will invest in a QB via the draft with either the eighth or 40th selection.
It seemed to me former OC BILL MUSGRAVE called a more aggressive game with Cassel at the helm, but a Vikings source of mine who would know doesn't totally agree with that assumption. Still, after that win at Wembley Cassel had the team in the palm of his hand. Then he struggled like many have against a rock-solid Panthers defense and threw two bad picks and was benched. That was a mistake the team made, and we would have had a better chance to rally and do some damage with Cassel leading the way.
It's not like Matt is a God-send but it would be nice to have him to start the season while the new guy simmers a bit behind the scenes. Plus, I cannot see another team offering him nearly $4 million to leave. Matt made a ton of cash when he left New England to play for Kansas City, so money probably isn't the underlying issue here. Matt has a right to be a martyr given the way the QB situation played out here last year and may have soured on the scene.
But with a new HC in MIKE ZIMMER and OC in NORV TURNER he may opt to return. I don't see a team in the league promising him the chance to start, and he probably would not be given that concession here. But after a year of learning the tendencies of our receivers and tight ends and a new OC who dictates tempo with a vertical passing game I think Minnesota should be enticing to Matt Cassel. Plus, I have a gut feeling Cassel is the perfect veteran to orchestrate Turner's offense given he airs it out pretty well.
My guess is by Friday he opts to stay and that's a good thing. He then will battle rookie QB du jour for the starting spot and Ponder, too, will be in the mix. I hope Matt stays because he handles unique situations with poise and is a class act.
*Photo -Hannah Foslien (Getty Images)