Cassel opting out of 2014 contract

Matt Cassel will opt out of his 2014 contract with the Vikings, according to numerous reports. That doesn't preclude him from re-signing with the Vikings, however.

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.

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