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By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Eden Prairie, MN - Currently sitting with just over $41 million in free cap space, the Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of preparing to be a big player in the upcoming free agency period. With the phones opening this weekend for the three day communication window and the official signing beginning this coming Tuesday, the Vikings are in a position to make a splash or two on the open market.
While names like Michael Johnson, defensive end from Cincinnati, being floated around, the team's number one priority may very well be one of their own.
As it stands, the Vikings have only one quarterback on roster (Christian Ponder) and he's not exactly the most popular guy in town. Still, veteran QB Matt Cassel opted to forgo his player-option for the 2014 season and test the waters of free agency. But the Vikings are still circling. We know this because new head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Thursday afternoon that the team would like to have Cassel back for another season.
"I would love to have Matt Cassel back if Matt Cassel wants to be back," Zimmer said during a conversation with assembled media at Winter Park. "I don't know if that will happen or won't happen but we're going to find a quarterback somewhere and if not Matt Cassel then we'll find someone else. I want guys that want to be here. I want guys that want to be part of the franchise, be part of the organization, be part of the team. If Matt wants to come back I'm sure that we'll get it worked out."
In six starts for the Vikings last season, Cassel threw for 1,807 yards, 11 TDs and 9 interceptions. A passer rating of 81.6. Not incredibly flashy but good enough to draw some attention on the open market.
"He's got a bunch of pretty girls looking at him right now so he's going to explore and see what's best for him," Zimmer explained. "I don't blame any of these guys in free agency. I think that's why they have the rules so they get a chance to go see what their market is worth."
No matter how it ends up with Cassel, the Vikings are likely to draft a QB in this year's draft. While a re-signed Cassel will surely be the front runner, Zimmer made it clear that there would be no guarantees as to who would be the starter prior to the season's open.
"What I want to do is play the best guy," Zimmer said. "I don't care if he's the rookie, if he's the veteran or if he's a returner. It doesn't matter to me who the quarterback is if he can help us win games."
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN