AP Source: Vikings' Cassel voids 2014 option

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm •  Published: February 5, 2014
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The Minnesota Vikings already had a lot of work to do with their quarterback situation this offseason.

The list just got longer.

Matt Cassel will void the 2014 option on his contract and become a free agent, a person familiar with his decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation.

Though the Vikings could've also cut him before paying a roster bonus next month, Cassel would've made $3.7 million this year had he not opted out, the same amount he made in the 2013 season. Let go by the Kansas City Chiefs last year, Cassel signed with the Vikings as the backup to Christian Ponder but finished the season as the starter.

Cassel was on the field at the end of all five of Minnesota's victories this year, three as the starter and two in relief of an injured Ponder. He appeared in nine games, and the Vikings went 3-3 in his six starts. With 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a 60.2 completion percentage, and an average of 239.8 yards passing per start, Cassel was by far the best quarterback on the roster. Ponder struggled, got hurt and sputtered again when given the job back. Josh Freeman played one infamously rough game.

Freeman will also be a free agent. Ponder has one year left on the rookie contract he received in 2011, when the Vikings drafted him with the 12th overall selection. This year, the Vikings pick eighth in the first round, with quarterback again atop the priority list.

Ponder's status is unclear, though if he's still on the roster for 2014 that would only be as a backup. Freeman almost certainly won't be re-signed. Cassel could still return, though, even though that will require a new contract and likely more money than he was scheduled to earn.