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Could Matt Cassel End Up In Cleveland?

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Cassel provided the Minnesota Vikings with their best quarterback play of the 2013 NFL season. The hope among some Vikings fans is that Cassel will be the starter in 2014, allowing a young quarterback a year to learn before assuming the role of the starter in 2015. Cassel is still under contract to the Minnesota Vikings.

For now.

Unfortunately, Cassel has the ability to opt out of the second year of the two-year pact he signed before the 2013 season. And there is speculation that one NFL team could already have Cassel targeted if the dominos fall right.

The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be interviewing former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels for their head coaching vacancy. McDaniels, who flopped in Denver, had a great deal of success with the New England Patriots as the offensive coordinator. That success includes a 2008 season that saw the Patriots be the rare team to go 11-5 and miss the NFL playoffs. . .with Matt Cassel at quarterback, after Tom Brady got injured in the season opener and missed the rest of the year.

The fact that the decision to opt out of Cassel's contract is his and not the team's could put the Vikings in a very precarious position. Josh Freeman, as we've gone over, isn't coming back, and if Cassel opts out, the team would be left with Christian Ponder and. . .well, nobody. That would mean one of three things. . .

1) Ponder goes back to being the starter by default
2) A highly-drafted rookie gets thrown into the fire right away
3) The Vikings attempt to find the answer in free agency. A free agency class whose crown jewel at quarterback is that no longer includes current Chicago Bears starter Jay Cutler

Cassel's decision was something that Vikings fans were going to have to keep an eye on as it was. Now, the rules might have just changed a little bit more.