Casey Matthews

NFC Notes: Romo, Cousins, Eagles, Saints

Tony Romo ran the scout team for 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills during today’s Cowboys practice, and Ian Rapoport of says (via Twitter) this a clear indication that the quarterback won’t be active this weekend. However, there is optimism for Romo’s return, as the 36-year-old was listed as a full participant in practice for the first time this year.

For what it’s worth, Romo’s teammates were excited for his return.

“He looks great,” linebacker Sean Lee told’s Todd Archer. “I mean he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. His ability to throw the ball, I always say I’ve been here seven years and I haven’t been near a football when he goes against us just because of how great he is with this eyes, how quick he is with his release. It’s amazing taking the time off, he looks fantastic, like he hasn’t missed any time.”

Let’s take a look at some other notes from the NFC…

  • As the Eagles look to fill their final roster spot, coach Doug Pederson told Eliot Shorr-Parks of that wideout Paul Turner or cornerback Aaron Grymes could be possible candidates for the opening (Twitter link). Grymes, a former CFL standout, has been on the Eagles’ practice squad since late October. Turner, an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, has been on the practice squad all season.
  • Before signing linebacker Sam Barrington earlier today, the Saints looked at a handful of defenders. According to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (via Twitter), the team worked out linebackers James-Michael Johnson, John Lotulelei, Casey Matthews, and Jason Trusnik.
  • The Redskins final eight games will not only determine their playoff fate, but they’ll also determine quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ future in Washington, writes’s John Keim. Since the team is seeking consistency from their signal-callers, Keim takes a look at Cousins’ potential performances against his upcoming opponents.

Vikings Place Casey Matthews On IR

The Vikings have placed linebacker Casey Matthews on injured reserve, the club announced. Matthews is dealing with a hip injury, one that head coach Mike Zimmer said occurred during the team’s offseason program, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Matthews, 26, agreed to a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with the Vikings earlier this offseason. After starting 11 games for the Eagles in 2014, Matthews looked like a legitimate option to compete with Audie Cole for Minnesota’s starting middle linebacker position. Once the Vikings selected UCLA’s Eric Kendricks in the second round of this year’s draft, however, Matthews’ route to playing time dissipated, and I listed him among the NFC North release candidates.

Depending on the nature of Matthews’ injury, it’s conceivable that he could still see the field this season. As Luke Adams explained in a PFR Glossary entry last year, players who are put on IR in the preseason — but who haven’t suffered season-ending injuries — are often released with a settlement. The club and the player come to an agreement on how long the injury will put the player out of commission, and the player is compensated for that length of time. It’s unlikely that Matthews will return to Minnesota however, as any club that releases a player off IR must wait six weeks on top of the initial diagnosis to re-sign him.

This the second Vikings headline of the day, as the club announced earlier this afternoon that it had agreed to a four-year extension with kicker Blair Walsh.

Vikings Sign Casey Matthews

The Vikings have agreed to terms with linebacker Casey Matthews, the club announced on Twitter. Matthews visited the club earlier today, as Ian Rapoport of reported (via Twitter), and it looks like a deal was struck during that time. Minnesota’s PR staff also confirmed the signing of safety Taylor Mays, which was reported earlier.

The 26-year-old Matthews, who had spent the entirety of his four-year career with the Eagles, will be moving from Philadelphia’s 3-4 defense to Minnesota’s 4-3 scheme. He’s played both inside and outside ‘backer, so he could conceivably compete with Audie Cole to be the Vikings’ middle linebacker — Minnesota’s 2014 MLB starter, Jasper Brinkley, signed with the Cowboys last week. Alternatively, he could act as depth at OLB, and could play a larger role there if the Vikes decide to part with ways with veteran LB Chad Greenway.

Despite starting only five games combined during his first three years in the league, Matthews started 11 contests last season, primarily due to injuries to Eagles starter DeMeco Ryans. Still, Matthews wasn’t on the field all that much, as he saw action on just 37.5% of the club’s defensive snaps. All told, Matthews racked up 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while forcing a fumble and recovering another.

The Vikings have been relatively active this offseason, as in addition to signing Matthews and Mays, they’ve also brought in backup QB Shaun Hill, and traded for receiver Mike Wallace.