He may not play for the Chiefs anymore, but Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel still feels at home in Kansas City.
Cassel’s three children were born in Kansas City. He still owns a home in the community. And he has warm memories from his four years as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback.
So Cassel, who is scheduled to start for the Vikings in Saturday night’s preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium, harbors no hard feelings toward the Chiefs, who released him after the 2012 season.
“I’m excited to go back to Kansas City,” Cassel told Minnesota reporters on Thursday. “I haven’t been back since I left a few years ago. I have a lot of close family (and) friends there. We enjoyed our time there. It will be fun to go back and play.”
Cassel spent 2009-12 with the Chiefs, and led them to a 10-6 record and an AFC West title in 2010. But he was dogged by injuries and inconsistent play over the next two seasons. He was benched in favor of Brady Quinn in 2012 and, after the Chiefs dismissed general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel following a 2-14 season, Cassel was not retained and signed with the Vikings as an unrestricted free agent.
“I still keep in contact with a lot of people out there,” said Cassel, who was 19-28 as a starter from the Chiefs. “The truth of the matter is I have no ill will. I’m excited about seeing the familiar faces who were so good to me when I was there.
“I’ve moved on, they’ve moved on, and it will be exciting to get out there and play against a good football team and a good defense as well. At the end of the day, it’s going to be competitive and you’re playing against a good team.”
Cassel, who started six games for Minnesota last season, is more concerned with beating out first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater for the Vikings’ starting job. Cassel has completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown with no interceptions for the Vikings, who are 2-0 in preseason, while Bridgewater has completed 22 of 33 for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Most teams would like to have their regular-season starter established by the third preseason game, and Minnesota’s first-year coach Mike Zimmer has not indicated who will fill that role.
“Coach will make that ultimate decision,” Cassel said. “I’m going to continue to prepare and do what I need to do to get ready for the season, and when the time comes and coach tells us, that’s what we’ll have to deal with.”