According to a report first published on KSTP.com and then subsequently confirmed via multiple outlets, Vikings QB Matt Cassel, who emerged as the starter and only consistent player at the quarterback position in 2013, will exercise his player option and void the second year of his contract.
By doing so, Cassel will forego $3.15 million in salary he was scheduled to make in 2014, and roll the dice in free agency. I'm mildly surprised by the move, for a couple of reasons:
1. $3.15 million is a lot of money, and I don't know that he could make anymore from another team. Yes, Cassel was the best QB option on the Vikings in 2013, but his stats were hardly eye-popping. He threw for just over 1,800 yards, with 11 TD's and nine interceptions while going 3-3 as a starter. He also came in at the second half of the Bears home game, and after a putrid first half which saw my Dad bail and go home, he rallied the Vikings for a win in overtime. I don't know that another team will give him that much money on the open market.
2. Yes, the Vikings will more than likely be drafting a quarterback early, but even so, I think Cassel would have a realistic chance to start in Minnesota. I don't know that he would get a shot somewhere else in 2014, but anything is possible. Cassel's obviously not the long term option in Minnesota, or heck, for anyone, but he would be a decent option for one, or maybe two seasons.
So, barring a deal that will bring Cassel back to the Vikings in 2014, the current quarterbacks on the Vikings roster are:
Yep, that's it. Josh Freeman and now Matt Cassel are free agents. Needless to say, the Vikings will be looking at QB's both in free agency and in the draft.