Vikings coach Mike Zimmer made it clear Thursday that they want Matt Cassel back.
Cassel opted out of his contract with the Vikings to become a free agent last month, but the Vikings are hoping to retain him.
Zimmer told the Pioneer Press, "I would love to have Matt Cassel back, if Matt Cassel wants to be back. I don't know if that will happen or won't happen. But we're going to find a quarterback somewhere. And if it's not Matt Cassel, then we'll find someone else."
According to the Pioneer Press, Zimmer has talked to Cassel about coming back. The Vikings can negotiate exclusively with Cassel's camp Saturday through Tuesday, but Zimmer said he expects Cassel will also look at other opportunities.
1500 ESPN reports returning to the Vikings could offer Cassel an appealing situation. The team does not have its starting quarterback figured out, only Christian Ponder is currently under contract and the top quarterbacks could be gone before the Vikings draft with the number eight pick in this year's NFL draft.
One of those opportunities for Cassel may come from Houston.
NFL.com Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday the Houston Texans have real interest in pursuing Cassel. A move could reunite Cassel with new Texans coach Bill O'Brien. He was an assistant with the Patriots during Cassel's final two seasons in New England.
A reunion with O'Brien could provide Cassel his best chance to compete for a job as a starting quarterback in an offense he is familiar with.
If Cassel goes then what?
The Vikings could look elsewhere in free agency. Adrian Peterson said if the Vikings had Michael Vick, they would instantly become a playoff team. The Vikings could also be looking for another free agent and have even been rumored to be interested trade options.