I was born and raised a Chiefs fan. My family has slowly moved north from my birthplace in Kansas City, and after living for 8 years in South Dakota and close to 5 years now in Minnesota, I have a lot of friends who are Vikings fans. The Chiefs are and will always be my favorite and only true team, but I do like to follow the Vikings. When I heard that the Vikings were interested in Matt Cassel I laughed and joked with my Vikings friends saying that they would feel the pain that I went through last year. But all joking aside, I am going to tell you why I believe that this is a good pick up for the Vikes.
As I am sure all of you know, Matt Cassel is not and never will be a franchise quarterback. He has only had what I would consider two successful year and I am pretty sure that even Joe Webb could have had a successful year if he would have been the Qb for the 2008 Patriots. The other year which I am referring to was the 2010 season where Cassel was named an alternate to the pro-bowl. In both of these seasons Cassel played smart effective football. He limited his mistakes, which as you might know was the Achilles heel of the Chiefs offence last season. 2012 was an absolute disaster for Matt Cassel. From throwing interceptions on screens, fumbles on the 1 yard line, and staring holes into Dwayne Bowe while missing a wide open Dexter McCluster, Cassel did it all last year. As terrible as Cassel played last year, he has shown that in the right environment he can play well. Fortunately, the Vikings seem to have an environment that Cassel can be successful in.
Every fan, coach and player in the NFL knows that the Vikings are a run first team. Last year Adrian Peterson had one of the best individual seasons any running back has ever had, and he has already set his goal to improve next season. Despite AP's freakish ability to put the team on his back, the Vikings still struggled due to lack of quarterback play and other offensive threats. Adding Gregg Jennings and possibly a 1st round wide receiver will go a long way in helping out this offence. Kyle Rudolph had a very nice season last year and looks like a great young player for the Vikings. Throw in the re-signing of Loadholt and Felton and the Vikings have some significant weapons to compliment their unstoppable running game. Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder are similar quarterbacks in many different ways. Both are most effective when they have a strong running game and are simply asked to keep the defense honest with play action passes. Ponder can let the ball fly a little better than Cassel, and both have the ability to scramble for a 1st down when given enough space. Last season Cassel really struggled with reading defenses and going through his passing progression. He will frustrate you to no end by staring down one WR, missing any other receiver that might be open, and by failing to accurately deliver the ball. I can still picture an instance in 2009 when Bobby Wade (yes, that Bobby Wade) busted wide open down the middle of the field, Cassel arched a pass towards him, but had terrible placement and as a result Wade dropped it. Last year Cassel would consistently place the ball on the back shoulder of receivers running slant routes and skip balls into the dirt when trying to hit wheel routes. If you didn't watch any Chiefs games last year (which really, why would you?) then trust me when I say that simply having Cassel as our Qb lost us many games. In week 5 the Chiefs played the Ravens in a terrible game for Cassel. Jamaal Charles had ran for more than 100 yards in the 1st half and Cassel and thrown the ball only about 5 times. The Chiefs knew that every time Cassel threw the ball, it hurt their chances of winning. Cassel was kept on a leash, but still managed to throw two interceptions, and the Chiefs ended up losing. This game also happened to be the whole cheering of Matt Cassel's injury and Eric Winston's post game rant. This game signaled an end to Matt Cassel's time in Kansas City.
Last season was a disaster for the Chiefs as a whole, and whether right or wrong, a lot of blame goes on Matt Cassel. Despite this despicable season, know this; Matt Cassel is an extremely hard worker. He is not blessed with talent, but he works his butt off in order to better himself and his team. He is a self-less leader who does great things for his community and team. Your team is getting a man who gives his teammates his all and doesn't get the credit that he deserves. Matt makes for a great back up Qb who will help Ponder be prepared each week, and hopefully, he can push Ponder enough to help both of them improve. So if you find yourself one day in a situation I have been in many times, yelling at the TV because Cassel has missed a wide open receiver, just remember what he has been through. And who knows, many Cassel can have another season like he did in 2008 and 2010, only time will tell.