The Vikings re-signed Matt Cassel to a 2-year deal, but was this decision the best possible move for a team that desperately needs a quarterback? Daniel House has his reasonings and explains them clearly in his latest post.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport is reporting the Vikings have re-signed quarterback Matt Cassel to a 2-year deal, worth $10 million. After opting out of his contract at the start of the free agency period, Cassel decided to return to Minnesota. Cassel, who turns 32 in May, left $3.7 million on his contract when he decided to depart in May, but by testing the market, he increased his yearly salary by $1.3 million. Cassel appeared in just 9 games last season, but was a contributing role in all the of team's wins and led the Vikings with 11 touchdown passes last season.
Is this a good decision for a team that is yearning for a franchise quarterback to take this team to the next level? Many believe the team overpaid to sign Cassel to a multi-year deal, but ultimately it was a move that needed to be made. The quarterback class in free agency this season wasn't impressive and Cassel was arguably the best available player at this position category. If the Vikings aren't able to draft a quarterback in May that can make the strides needed to be a franchise quarterback, Matt Cassel can be a serviceable option. Cassel played relatively well last season and with a historically poor defense, the team still had a shot to win the division. Greg Jennings was maximized during the time Cassel was on the field, which is important when you consider his familiarity with the pass catchers on the roster.
The offensive scheme the Vikings ran last year wasn't good for any quarterback that would have tried to play within the system. Mike Zimmer brought Norv Turner into the fold to adequately develop a quarterback who can play well enough for the team to win games with a debilitating defense. People very quickly forget that the Vikings were ranked 13th in total offense last season with Cassel at quarterback, Bill Musgrave using the recipe card, Cordarrelle Patterson only playing half the season, and Adrian Peterson being injured for most of the 2013 campaign. This team will be built from the defense and if it can become a debilitating force, Matt Cassel can win football games for this team. He proved when he had the chance last season he could win games with a historically bad defense getting killed on a weekly basis. Improve the defense in the draft and free agency and the trend can improve to the point where this team can become a contender in the NFC again. The offensive pieces are in place and the team addressed the one spot they need to on offense, which means they can shift their complete focus to improving a historically bad defense.
For those who are concerned the Vikings won't draft a franchise quarterback in this draft and will continue using veterans at the position, you are sadly mistaken. Cassel was an umbrella insurance policy in the event the team can't get exactly who they would like in the draft. In addition, the team could decide to draft a player like Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round and let him sit behind Cassel for the next two seasons. If one of the big three quarterbacks (Bortles, Manziel, or Bridgewater) fall to the Vikings at the eighth selection, I firmly believe if they are impressed with one of them, they will pull the trigger. Rick Spielman has continually proven that is if he is wowed by a prospect, he isn't afraid to make the move.
This signing doesn't signal the team won't address a glaring issue, it just provides a sense of stability as Mike Zimmer looks to help improve his forte: the defense.