EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - New Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has taken a methodical approach to evaluating the teams muddled quarterback situation, refusing to make any concrete statements about the position until he had time to do his homework and come to a decision. With free agency less than a week away, the coach appears to have come to at least one conclusion: Zimmer wants Matt Cassel to return to Minnesota next season, if the free agent-to-be decides he wants to be with the Vikings. "I would love to have Matt Cassel back if Matt Cassel wants to be back," Zimmer said Thursday. "I dont know if that will happen or wont happen. But were going to find a quarterback somewhere. And if its not Matt Cassel, then well find someone else. "I want guys who want to be here. I want guys that want to be part of the franchise, be part of the organization, be part of the team. And if Matt wants to come back, Im sure that well get it worked out." Zimmer said he has had conversations with Cassel, who went 3-3 in his six starts last season and was on the field at the end of the game for all five Vikings victories, to that effect. Cassel opted out of his contract last month and Zimmer said he expected Cassel to explore free agency before the quarterback makes a decision. Free agents can sign with new teams starting on Tuesday. "Hes got a bunch of pretty girls looking at him right now," Zimmer said, referring to teams that are expected to court Cassel in free agency. "And he wants to explore and see whats best for him. I dont blame any of these guys. In free agency, I think thats why they have the rules is that they get a chance to go see what their markets worth." Last year Cassel split the duties with Christian Ponder for most of the season, with Josh Freeman also getting one start. Cassel completed 60.2 per cent of his passes for 1,807 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. "I think the team rallied around him a lot but I think the team has a lot of confidence in him," Zimmer said. "Other than playing against him I dont that much about him yet other than the conversation that we had on the phone." The Vikings have the eighth overall pick in the upcoming draft and are expected to look at drafting a quarterback. But with star running back Adrian Peterson approaching 30 years old, bringing in a veteran quarterback to serve as a bridge until that young player is ready is an avenue the team will consider. One player Peterson wants the Vikings to pursue is Michael Vick, who likely will be looking for a starting job after losing his in Philadelphia to Nick Foles. Peterson tweeted on Thursday that Vick "would (instantly) make the Vikings a playoff team!" "I think he has his opinions," Zimmer said about Peterson. "I like Adrian a lot from the little time that Ive talked to him. I know that hes a great running back. I dont know anything else." Zimmer said he would also like to have receiver Jerome Simpson and longtime defensive stars Jared Allen and Kevin Williams back as well, if all three decide they want to play for the Vikings and accept what could be different roles than the ones they had under the previous regime. Allen and Williams likely would have to take significant paycuts to return. "I think it would be great for him to finish here," Zimmer said of Allen, "but I do understand the business part of all this stuff and if it doesnt work out, it doesnt work out." In general, Zimmer said the Vikings have "a lot of holes to fill" on both sides of the ball as free agency approaches. But the coach expected the team to take a pragmatic approach, focusing more on the draft than making a big splash by signing high-priced veterans. "I think if we go out and spend a whole bunch of money now, wed be upset two years from now because some of them didnt work out," Zimmer said. "So were going to be real diligent in how we approach this and making sure that not only is it best for next year, but best for the long run too." NOTES: The Vikings released DT LeTroy Guion and WR Greg Childs. Guion started 31 games in six seasons with the Vikings, but the team saved $4 million by cutting him. Childs was a fourth-round draft choice in 2012, but never played in a game after tearing the patellar tendons in both knees in training camp during his rookie year. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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. - Mike Zimmer has brought a demanding style to the Minnesota Vikings.New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ezekiel Elliotts career game helped Ohio State continue its dream season and earn a spot in the national title game. Elliott ran for a career-high and Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Buckeyes thrilling 42-35 semifinal win over top-ranked Alabama at the Superdome on Thursday night. Ohio State, ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll, faced doubts about its worthiness after being picked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings ahead of TCU and Baylor. It silenced the critics on Thursday night. The Buckeyes (13-1) will now face Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks in the first College Football Playoff final on Jan. 12. Ohio States run to the title game came after Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller was lost to a shoulder injury in the preseason. It picked up steam after backup quarterback J.T. Barrett suffered a fractured ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan. In stepped third-stringer Cardale Jones, who led a 59-0 rout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, then took down the vaunted Crimson Tide (12-2). Jones threw for 243 yards with one touchdown and an interception, while also rushing for 43 yards in the win. Final Score: (3) Oregon 59, (2) Florida State 20 Pasadena, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will play for the national championship. Mariota combined for 400 yards and three touchdowns and the Ducks scored 34 points off five Florida State turnovers in the second half on the way to a 59-20 win in Thursdays Rose Bowl. The Ducks, seeded No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, will take on the winner of Thursdays Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Ohio State in the national championship game on Jan. 12. Mariota was named the offensive MVP in the first national semifinal game in college football history after passing for 338 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 62 yards and another score in a little over three quarters. Final Score: (7) Michigan State 42, (4) Baylor 41 Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Trailing 41-21 entering the fourth quarter, No. 7 Michigan State scored three consecutive touchdowns to complete an improbable comeback and beat No. 4 Baylor, 42-41, in the 2015 Cotton Bowl. Despite throwing two interceptions, including a crucial one in the final quarter, Connor Cook led Michigan States comeback with 314 yards and two touchdown passes, both in the fourth quarter, on 24-of-42 passing. Trailing 41-35 with just over a minute remaining in the game, the Spartans (11-2) blocked a field goal to give their offense one more shot. Cook connectted with Tony Lippett on a 17-yard pass to convert a fourth down with the game on the line, and his 3rd-and-goal pass was caught for the winning touchdown by Keith Mumphery, who led MSU with 87 receiving yards.ddddddddddddMichigan State ran the ball very effectively, getting 162 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries from Jeremy Langford. The two teams combined for Cotton Bowl records in points scored and total yards with 1,135. Bryce Petty set a Cotton Bowl record with 550 yards passing for the Bears (11-2). He completed 36-of-51 passes for three touchdowns and an interception as the clock ran down to end the game. Baylor was unable to run the ball which made it difficult to wear down the clock. The Bears finished with minus-20 rushing yards as a team, and Shock Linwood only totaled 26 yards on 11 carries. KD Cannon grabbed eight passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, and Corey Coleman added 150 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. Final Score: (16) Missouri 33, Minnesota 17 Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Maty Mauk rebounded from two early interceptions to lead the 16th-ranked Missouri Tigers over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 33-17, in the Citrus Bowl. Mauk completed 12-of-19 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (11-3), who recorded 11 wins for the fourth time in program history. He also carried the ball 11 times for 38 yards and a score. Marcus Murphy carried the ball 12 times for 157 yards for Missouri, which has won its last three bowl games. Russell Hansbrough rushed for 114 yards and a score on 15 carries. Bud Sasser caught seven passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Mitch Leidner completed 21-of-31 passes for 258 yards and one touchdown for the Gophers (8-5), who have dropped their last seven bowl games. Maxx Williams caught seven passes for 98 yards and a score for Minnesota, which played in a New Years Day bowl for the first time since 1962. David Cobb rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries. Final Score: (17) Wisconsin 34, (19) Auburn 31 (OT) Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Rafael Gaglianone made a 29-yard field goal to tie the game with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter, then won the Outback Bowl for Wisconsin with a 25-yarder in overtime. Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon led the way once again for the 17th-ranked Badgers, rushing for 251 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries in a 34-31 victory over the 19th-ranked Auburn Tigers. Corey Clement carried the ball 15 times for 105 yards and also caught a touchdown pass for the Badgers (11-3), who set an Outback Bowl record with 400 yards on the ground. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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