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Matt Cassel recalls his time in New England, what he learned from Tom Brady

09.10.14 at 8:00 pm ET
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Matt Casell will face the Patriots for the first time on Sunday. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Matt Casell will face the Patriots for the first time on Sunday. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It’€™s been six years since Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel was a member of the Patriots, but that doesn’€™t mean he still doesn’€™t refer back to his time in New England.

“I think I constantly refer back to some of the things that I learned in New England and throughout my career,” Cassel said on a conference call Wednesday. “It was a great stepping stone, and it also gave me time to mature as a player and as a quarterback. I got to learn from one of the best in the game to ever play the game in Tom [Brady], and he was such a great mentor to me. Not only that, but the way that they prepared, the attitude they had, the way they went about their business –€“ I really carried that to every place that I’€™ve gone.”

Cassel’€™s 2008 season with New England was what put him on the map as Brady went down in Week 1 with a torn ACL and Cassel stepped in, despite not starting a game since high school and led the Patriots to an 11-6 record. The performance received attention throughout the league and Cassel along with linebacker Mike Vrabel were traded to the Chiefs in Feb. of 2009.

“€œA tremendous amount of confidence, obviously,” Cassel said of the 2008 season. “€œI think that everybody was skeptical –€“ probably even to a point myself — when I first got the nod and got the opportunity because I hadn’€™t started a game since high school. But at the same time, I knew through my preparation and also working diligently throughout the course of the week and also over the years that I had the ability to do it. Then it was just a process of getting out there and getting the game time action.”

After starting for two seasons with the Chiefs, Cassel was delegated to a back up role for the next two seasons. In 2013 he moved up north to Minnesota and started in seven games. He’€™s kept that starting job for 2014 despite Minnesota taking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 32 overall pick in this year’€™s draft.

Sunday, the Vikings will host the Patriots in their home opener and Cassel will face his former team for the first time. The quarterback will be reunited with his former mentor and someone he now views as a good friend in Brady.

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Despite struggling Week 1, Patriots defense ready for Adrian Peterson and Vikings

09.10.14 at 6:28 pm ET
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The Patriots will have their hands full with Adrian Peterson on Sunday. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Patriots defense will have their hands full with Adrian Peterson on Sunday. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

FOXBORO –€“ Facing Adrian Peterson and the rest of the Vikings rushing attack, many opposing defenses may look at it as a tough task, especially for the Patriots who allowed 191 rushing yards for a five-yard per carry average in their season-opening loss to the Dolphins.

But, unlike many may think, the Patriots are actually looking forward to facing Peterson and the Vikings this Sunday.

“We have a lot of ball to play, it’€™s really early in the season so as long as this doesn’€™t become a continuous thing,”€ said linebacker Dont’a Hightower. “€œIt was definitely something we strived to work on today and keep going each and everyday.

“For us to be a great defense — which is something all of us agree that’€™s what we want to do — you definitely can’€™t allow an offense to run the ball like they did so we’€™re definitely going to pride our self on the running game — we’€™re going to do our best and this is the perfect week to go out and do that.”

Peterson, for good reason, is considered one of the best running backs in the game, as he’€™s coming off a 1,266 yard season last year and a 2,097 yard season in 2012. Hightower and the rest of the Patriots defense know they need to know where he is on every play and know that it may take more than one tackler to bring him down.

“He’€™s definitely one of the better running backs in the league,”€ said Hightower. “He’€™s big, fast, strong, smart, great vision –€“ he has everything in a good back that you want. It’€™s going to take all 11 guys being at the point of attack and getting to the ball so he isn’€™t getting a 1-on-1 matchup to break a tackle and get the extra yards. Just everyone getting to the ball and playing with good technique.”

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Report: Ravens knew video of Rice existed, but team never asked to see it

09.10.14 at 5:48 pm ET
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The Ravens knew that a surveillance video of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee in a February incident in an Atlantic City casino existed and that Rice’s lawyer had a copy of the video, but the team never asked to see it, according to ABC News.

In addition, there’s considerable doubt being cast on the fact that commissioner Roger Goodell was unaware of the severity of the assault because a police report stated clearly Rice committed assault ‘€œby striking her with his hand, rendering her unconscious.”

Goodell has maintained all along that no one at the NFL witnessed the video of Rice’s punching his now-wife in the elevator until the video from the incident released this week by

“We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity,” Goodell said.

However, a story from the Associated Press Wednesday quoted a law-enforcement official as saying he sent the videotape of the incident to the league three months ago, and the league had simply failed to act, beyond giving Rice a two-game suspension.

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Report: Law enforcement official says he sent Ray Rice video to NFL

09.10.14 at 5:07 pm ET
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A law enforcement official told the Associated Press Wednesday he sent the infamous elevator video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive three months ago, despite the fact that league officers insisted they had not seen the images until they were released by TMZ this week.

That would run contrary to statements from the NFL that they had asked for the video of Rice hitting Janay Palmer ‘€” who is now his wife ‘€” at an Atlantic City casino in February, but were not able to obtain it.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS News on Tuesday that “no one in the NFL, to my knowledge” had seen a new video of what happened on the elevator until it was posted online.

“We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity,” Goodell said.

Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games following the incident, which took place in an Atlantic City casino in February. However, the Ravens released Rice on Monday and the NFL suspended him indefinitely following the release of a lengthier video of the incident which showed Rice punching his then-fiancee.

Late Wednesday, the NFL issued a statement on the report.

“We have no knowledge of this. We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it,” the statement said.

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Ryan Wendell, Rob Gronkowski among 5 limited on Patriots injury report

09.10.14 at 4:28 pm ET
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Ryan Wendell

Ryan Wendell

Five players were listed as limited on the Patriots injury report on Wednesday, including tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and center Ryan Wendell (knee).

Gronkowski, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last December, is still working to get back to 100 percent, while Wendell apparently left the game late Sunday with a knee issue that required attention.

However, three notable players who were not listed include quarterback Tom Brady, who popped up on the injury report last week with a calf issue, and wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who sat out the opener last week against the Dolphins with a foot problem, one that has dogged him all the way back to last year. In addition, it appeared late in Sunday’s game that cornerback Darrelle Revis was being worked on on the sidelines — Revis later said was a cramping issue and not a hamstring problem.

Here’s the complete injury report:

DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
DL Chris Jones (ankle)
DL Sealver Siliga (hand)
C Ryan Wendell (knee)

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Read More: Chris Jones, Rob Gronkowski, ryan wendell, Sealver Siliga

Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable preview Adrian Peterson and Vikings against Patriots

09.10.14 at 1:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable preview the challenge for the 0-1 Patriots as they visit Adrian Peterson and the 1-0 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Patriots are looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 2001.

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Perfect attendance for Patriots at practice

09.10.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots returned to the practice field Wednesday in preparation for the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday on the road. They had perfect attendance as the team worked out in full pads on the upper grass fields.

The full attendance would seem to be a good sign on center Ryan Wendell, who left Sunday’s game in Miami with a leg issue. Tom Brady was also on the field at the start of practice, working with his first team offense, an indication that the calf injury, as expected, is not a serious issue.

Jordan Devey, who started Sunday’s game at right guard, was again working with the starting offensive line during the media portion of practice.

Defensive linemen Michael Buchanan and Chris Jones, both nursing ankle injuries, were on the field as well. Both players did not make the trip to South Florida for the game but were practicing Wednesday.

The team will practice on Thursday and Friday before a Saturday walkthrough and flight to Minneapolis for the Sunday game.

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