Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel will opt out of the second and final year (2014) of his contract, according to numerous reports.
Cassel signed a two-year, $7.4 million contract in March 2013, but the second year of that contract allowed him to opt out within five days following this year's Super Bowl. He had until Friday to make that decision and has reportedly already decided to do that.
Cassel's contract in 2014 called for a base salary of $3.15 million that wouldn't have been guaranteed until the first week of the regular season, meaning the Vikings could have cut him before that and only paid the $500,000 roster bonus due in March and a $50,000 workout bonus if he earned that during the offseason.
It is still possible that Cassel will re-sign with the Vikings, but this move gives him the flexibility to either re-sign for more guaranteed money or pursue a better deal elsewhere.
"I love playing for the Vikings. The fan base here is absolutely amazing. The team was special. It was a great team to play for," Cassel said after the last game of the 2013 season. "I really enjoyed my time with my wife, myself, my kids, a great community and everything else that goes along with it. So, would I love to be a Minnesota Viking? Absolutely, without a doubt."
Cassel came to the Vikings last year with the express instructions that he was a backup to Christian Ponder, but knowing that Ponder hadn't completely proved himself. When Ponder faltered, the Vikings went with Cassel on and off. He ended up starting six games and playing in another three in relief of Ponder.
Cassel finished the season completing 153 of 254 passes for 1,807 yards, 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 81.6 passer rating.
Ponder is entering the final year of his rookie contract and Josh Freeman is scheduled to be a free agent after signing only a one-year deal with the Vikings.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Cassel opting out of 2014 contract
Viking Update Top Stories
Men in the middle: Scouting free-agent MLBsThe Vikings aren't in the pressing-need category for a middle linebacker, but with Audie Cole a free agent and Mike Zimmer looking to amass troops, it isn't out of the question.
Viking Update10:11 AM
Notebook: Zimmer holding off on surgeryMinnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is holding off on another eye surgery until after the heavy travel period; and we also look at the futures of Chad Greenway and Adam Thielen.
Viking Update8:36 AM
Combine Research: Defensive Ends (Part 2)Who was a star basketball player who honed his skills in the boxing ring? What small-school star's abs have abs? What star rusher was taken under his father's wing? Those answers…
Packer ReportYesterday at 7:19 PM
Combine Research: Defensive Ends (Part 1)Which top prospect has been without his mom for most of his life? Who is the son of a former NFL star? Who are two of the top small-school standouts? Those answers and more as we…
Packer ReportYesterday at 6:54 PM