Cassel jerseys nonexistent at Vikings training camp
MANKATO, Minn. — About 9,500 fans turned out for Saturday night’s Minnesota Vikings practice at the Minnesota State-Mankato campus, and many were wearing team replica jerseys.
So how many Matt Cassel No. 16 jerseys were spotted in the stands by the Pioneer Press?
How many Cassel jerseys have been noticed by the Pioneer Press on fans during the first nine days of training camp?
How about the number of Cassel jerseys available Sunday for purchase at the Minnesota Vikings Locker Room, the official team store at Mall of America?
Cassel is only the guy most likely to be Minnesota’s starting quarterback this season after having started the final four games last year. However, many believe he eventually will be beaten out by rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
Cassel’s jersey is available online at NFLShop.com. But help looks to be on the way for Vikings fans who want to buy one in person in Minnesota.
An employee at the team store wouldn’t speak to the media, but individuals familiar with the process did provide some details.
Although the store apparently never has had Cassel jerseys for sale, some have been ordered and are expected to arrive around Sept. 1. They will sell for $115, the lowest of three different tiers of jerseys available.
The two tiers of higher-quality jerseys sell for $155 and $295. The only player available now at the store in the top category is star running back Adrian Peterson. But Peterson soon will be joined in that classification when orders arrive for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and linebacker Chad Greenway, who already are available in lower categories.
Other Vikings players who had replica jerseys available Sunday at the team shop were Bridgewater, quarterback Christian Ponder, wide receiver Greg Jennings, tight end Kyle Rudolph, center John Sullivan and safety Harrison Smith. Former Minnesota players who had jerseys on sale for $29.95 from $115 were defensive end Jared Allen and quarterback Josh Freeman.
Yes, you really still can buy a Freeman jersey. He signed with the Vikings last October and ended up appearing in just one game.
Cassel initially joined the team in March 2013 and started six games last season. He re-signed last March on a two-year, $10 million contract.
After Saturday’s practice, Cassel said he wasn’t offended by the lack of No. 16 jerseys seen.
“Not at all,” he said. “I could care less. As long as they’re wearing purple, that’s the most important part.”
Cassel said his family is fully outfitted with No. 16 Vikings jerseys, having gotten them from the team. When informed that his jersey finally should be available for purchase in Minnesota around Sept. 1, he said, “Let’s fire it up then.”
For those fans who really want one now, they can be purchased at NFLShop.com for $99.95, with shipping said to take three business days. Among fans who have attended training camp, not one has been found yet who has gone that route.
There have been plenty of fans spotted so far wearing the No. 5 of the highly touted Bridgewater, and some have been seen with Ponder’s No. 7. Among former Minnesota quarterbacks, replicas have been spotted of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton’s No. 10, Brett Favre’s No. 4, Daunte Culpepper’s No. 11, Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 and even Tarvaris Jackson’s No. 7.
“I have never actually seen one,” fan Alex Diaz of West St. Paul said at a recent training-camp practice about a fan wearing a Cassel Vikings jersey.
Perhaps that will change in September.