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.
We’re tracking all things Purple, starting with what’s already happened and projecting what needs to happen as the Vikings work their way through free agency and the rest of the offseason.
For the first time since he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, Vikings top quarterback Matt Cassel will return to the city where he experienced probably the highest and lowest points of his NFL career, along with a bunch of personal memories Cassel will always cherish.
After Cassel’s breakout 2008 season in New England following a season-ending knee injury to Tom Brady, the Chiefs acquired him in 2009 and paid him big bucks to be their starter. A season later, the Chiefs won their division as Cassel had his only Pro Bowl season, tossing a career-high 27 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions.
But the honeymoon didn’t last for much longer after that, and things got so bad for Cassel during his turnover-plagued 2012 season that some fans at Arrowhead Stadium cheered when Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata knocked him out of an ugly game that the Ravens won, 9-6.
Still, despite that, Cassel said all the right things today about returning to Arrowhead Stadium.
“I’m excited to go back to Kansas City,” he said. “I haven’t been back since I left a few years ago. I’ve got a lot of close family friends there. We enjoyed our time there. My three children were born there. So I’ve got a lot of good memories in Kansas City, so it will be fun to go back and play.”
Cassel said he has “no ill will” towards the organization, and he said he is excited to catch up with the many familiar faces who were kind to him during his four years with the Chiefs.
“I’ve moved on. They’ve moved on. And it will be exciting to get out there and play against a good football team with a good defense as well,” said Cassel, who still owns a home in the K.C. area.
As for the quarterback competition that he is leading, Cassel said the coaches haven’t told him when a decision will be made, so he is only worried about playing well Saturday against the Chiefs.
“At this point, it’s just going to be one of those things where we just wait and see,” Cassel said. “Coach will make that ultimate decision. At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to prepare and do what I need to do to get ready for the season. And then when the time comes and coach tells us, then that’s what we’ll have to deal with.”
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