With the 2014 NFL season officially in the books, the off-season can get underway. The NFL Scouting Combine starts in Indianapolis on 19 February, and free agency starts on 11 March (though teams can start negotiating with players three days before that).
Prior to that, however, we fans of the Minnesota Vikings have something of importance to look at, and that's the status of quarterback Matt Cassel's contract.
Cassel signed a two-year deal with the Vikings before the 2013 season to serve as Christian Ponder's back-up. He wound up starting the final four games of the year, and provided the best quarterback play. . ."best" being a relative term, mind you. . .that Minnesota got this past season. The contract provides an opportunity for both sides to void the contract if they want, according to ESPN's Ben Goessling.
Cassel has the option first, as he can void his deal within five days of the Super Bowl, which would give him until Friday. If he doesn't void the deal, the Vikings can do so (with no salary cap ramifications) until 18 March, which is seven days after the start of the league "new year" on 11 March.
Right now, the only quarterback on the roster the Vikings have definitive control over is Ponder, who is going into the final year of his rookie contract. Cassel would likely be the starter in 2014, depending on where the Vikings select a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. Whether Cassel voids his deal or not (or if the Vikings do it for him, though I can't envision a scenario where they'd actually do that) might shuffle their off-season priorities a little bit.
Yes, it's not earth-shattering news compared to the rest of the NFL, but. . .well. . .welcome to the off-season, ladies and gentlemen.