2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Vikings land QB Cassel, talk with WR Jennings

By DAVE CAMPBELL and JON KRAWCZYNSKI - AP Sports Writers
    2013-03-14 15:59

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two of the Minnesota Vikings' biggest priorities this offseason were to bolster a thin receiver corps and get a quality veteran to backup quarterback Christian Ponder.

One down, one to go.

The Vikings agreed to terms with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been officially announced. It's been a busy day for the Vikings, who also were hosting Green Bay Packers free agent receiver Greg Jennings for a visit.

The agent for Jennings, Eugene Parker, told the AP his client was visiting Green Bay's NFC North rival. ESPN first reported the trip.

Cassel agreed to terms with the Vikings, a deal first reported by Fox Sports, on the same day he was formally released by the Chiefs with two years left on his contract. He spent the last four years in Kansas City, making the Pro Bowl in 2010 after throwing for 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. But he has struggled the last two years, with 16 TDs and 21 interceptions. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,796 yards with six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games last year.

Cassel will replace Joe Webb as Christian Ponder's backup. Ponder has been inconsistent his first two seasons, but GM Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier have expressed strong support for their young quarterback and labeled him as the definitive starter when the team starts preparations for 2013.

The 29-year-old Jennings played in only eight games for the Packers in 2012, plus two in the playoffs, because of a torn lower abdominal muscle and finished with a career-low 366 yards receiving with an average of 10.2 yards per catch, also his worst NFL total. In 2011, he missed three games with a sprained left knee.

But as the Vikings well know, Jennings has been one of the best in the league since he was drafted in the second round in 2006 out of Western Michigan. He has three years of at least 1,100 yards receiving and two 12-touchdown seasons. In 14 career games against the Vikings, Jennings racked up 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Packers won 10 times.

The Vikings sure haven't been shy about signing players from their fiercest intra-division competitor.

They brought in safety Darren Sharper in 2005, kicker Ryan Longwell in 2006 and wide receiver Robert Ferguson in 2007. They've tried to woo others in recent years, too: fullback William Henderson, defensive end Aaron Kampman and wide receiver James Jones.

Then, of course, there was Brett Favre, whose embittered departure from the Packers in 2008 paved the way for him joining the Vikings in 2009 and nearly taking them to the Super Bowl.

More important to the Vikings than nabbing a popular, productive player from the Packers, though, is upgrading their perilously thin group of wide receivers. After trading Percy Harvin, cutting Michael Jenkins and letting Devin Aromashodu become a free agent, the Vikings currently have only three players at the position with any NFL experience: Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton. Wright has played in seven career games. Burton has seven career catches.

Spielman has repeatedly stated the organization's preference to focus on drafting and developing players rather than relying on free agency to fill gaps on the roster, but they'll likely need to add at least one veteran to the group even if they draft a handful of them.

Ponder said in an interview this week he doesn't think it's paramount to add more experience but acknowledged he wouldn't mind throwing to a polished, versatile wide receiver like Jennings.

``He's as great player. He's been doing great things in Green Bay, and he'd bring leadership to that position,'' Ponder said. ``Kind of a dynamic guy you can put in the slot and outside. I've always admired his work in Green Bay, and he seems like a great guy to have on a team.''

Plenty of money has been flying around the NFL the last few days for wide receivers, beginning with Mike Wallace's big contract with Miami. Wes Welker went to Denver, and Danny Amendola replaced him in New England. Donnie Avery signed with Kansas City. By waiting during the initial wave, the Vikings ought to get a lower price for Jennings if he's willing to come to a team with a still-developing quarterback in Ponder.

---

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

Julian EdelmanDec 20 06:02p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 16. Edelman didn't receive final clearance from the concussion protocol to play Sunday, Dec. 21.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

DeMarco MurrayDec 20 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) reportedly plans on playing this week despite a broken bone in his hand.

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