Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Cassel already feels a `trust factor' with Turner, Zimmer

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: March 11, 2014 - 4:39 PM

Even Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, perhaps the most polite interviews in the league, admits he didn't really know what the heck was going on at quarterback with the Vikings last season. (Join the club, Matt).

"Well, I don't think I knew where I stood week to week," Cassel said earlier today during a conference call with the media. "There was always something going on. You never really knew until coach [Leslie Frazier] told you what was going on. You just prepared to the best of your ability and sit there and hope you get the chance to get on the field. At the end of the day, I think I was able to get on the field and I think we finished pretty strong and gave myself another opportunity to come back.

Cassel said he's been given no assurances about his status on the depth chart, but he sounds a lot more comfortable after having talked to the current coaching staff that included head coach Mike Zimmer and the widely-respected Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. And that's why Cassel chose to re-sign with the Vikings for $10 million over two years a month after opting out of the final year of his original deal with the team. 

"I think there was a multitude of reasons for coming back to the Minnesota Vikings," Cassel said. "I'm a big fan of Coach Zimmer. I think he does a phenomenal job with his defense. I played against him a few times and it's always difficult to prepare for somebody like that. And also at the same time, I think the hiring of Coach Turner and my familiarity with the personnel and the potential that we have to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball, I was excited about all those factors."

Cassel said Turner will be his "seventh offensive coordinator in six seasons." But even without having played a snap for Turner, Cassel said there's already a "trust factor."

"I'm extremely excited about playing for coach Turner," Cassel said. "I think his resume speaks for itself. He's had a lot of success throughout his tenure in the NFL with multiple teams and multiple quarterbacks. Obviously, I had a chance to play against him a lot when he was in San Diego and I was in Kansas City. The one thing you always knew about [him] was you had to make sure you scored a lot of points because he was going to take his shots and he does a phenomenal job of creating mismatches with people inside, formationing people in different areas so you can get a great matchup. And it's a quarterback-friendly system that I think my skillset really fits well. ... I think he gives you a lot of confidence as a player, knowing that if I go in and do what I'm supposed to do, there's a great possibility that I'm going to be successful."

Cassel, who went 3-3 as a starter while mired in a three-headed quarterbacking nightmare with Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman a year ago, will head to training camp as the starter. Whether he keeps that designation could depend on what the Vikings do to address the position in the draft.

"I don't think anybody has really talked about [assurances]," Cassel said. "But at the same time, I think that it's a performance-based job. You have go out there and perform and compete. I've talked to Coach Zimmer on the phone and we're all very optimistic about working with each other. At the same time, I've never had one practice with Coach Zimmer. You have to go in and earn your keep every year in the NFL. That's part of the business.

"I do [expect to be the starter]. That's my mentality. I go in with the expectation to be the starter. That won't change. But you have to go out there and prove it. There are going to be two other quarterbacks, maybe three other quarterbacks, coming in here competing as well. That's what it is on every NFL roster."

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - N. Martinez 11:40 AM
Miami - N. Eovaldi
Seattle - J. Paxton 12:05 PM
Philadelphia - C. Hamels
Toronto - R. Dickey 1:10 PM
Milwaukee - J. Nelson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 2:35 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Atlanta - A. Wood 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Houston - S. Feldman 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Arizona - T. Cahill 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
LA Angels - G. Richards 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Detroit - R. Porcello 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 6:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson
Baltimore - W. Chen 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Cleveland - T. House 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Kansas City - D. Duffy 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Diego - E. Stults 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Colorado
San Jose 9:00 PM
Seattle
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT