Around the Horns: Cassel's uncertain future

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
8:00
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Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

Since Matt Cassel has re-emerged as the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback, turning in the best passing performance by a Minnesota signal-caller since Brett Favre on Sunday, there have been plenty of outlets -- including this blog -- floating the idea that Cassel could return to Minnesota in 2014, begin the season as the starting quarterback and stay in the role until, or unless, a new draft pick was ready to take over the job.

That option could be an attractive one for the Vikings, and it could give Cassel a good chance to go into the season with some certainty about how much playing time he'd get. But as Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com points out, there are problems with that idea.

First, as Zulgad writes, there's no guarantee a new coach would be as keen to the idea of keeping Cassel as Leslie Frazier would be, were he to be retained as the Vikings' head man. Second -- and possibly more importantly -- Cassel has an option in his contract for 2014, and as haphazardly as the Vikings have handled the quarterback position, he might decide he wants to head elsewhere. Even if coach Leslie Frazier is gone, general manager Rick Spielman could return, meaning there would still be at least one Vikings decision maker who thought signing Josh Freeman -- who is "being given $2 million to do nothing," as Zulgad writes -- was a viable alternative to Cassel and Christian Ponder.

Cassel will start on Sunday in Cincinnati, and he's likely to finish the year as the starter; ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported as much on Monday night. But given Cassel's contract status, and the uncertain futures of the men he'd be working with, there are plenty of directions his relationship with Minnesota could still go.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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