Josh Freeman drew interest from seemingly quarterback-needy teams such as the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raidersafter his release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But on Sunday night, Freeman chose the Minnesota Vikings, who already have Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel at the position.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that Freeman won't start in Week 6. Still, will the new addition prove to be the right fit for Minnesota? And if so, what will happen to Ponder and Cassel?
The Vikings have the talent to go to the playoffs, but they need a quarterback who can contribute at a playoff level. I don't think Matt Cassel is the answer; Christian Ponder, meanwhile, has not improved his accuracy enough. Freeman has to prove he can be adequately accurate and make good decisions while showing the work ethic, leadership and mental toughness needed to win consistently in the NFL.
Mastering a new offense at this point of the season will be hard for Freeman, as it would be for any quarterback. The 1-3 Vikings are in a tough spot, trying to get Freeman up to speed while also gunning for a needed win.
Ultimately, Minnesota should go with the quarterback who has the best chance to win on a weekly basis. When Freeman is ready, the Vikings should start him. As for Cassel and Ponder, Minnesota should put one on the trading block; given the potential for injuries, a market might develop. I would hang on to Ponder, who did, after all, help take the team to the playoffs in 2012. The bottom line: Both the Vikings and Freeman made the right decision.
The Vikings are paying Josh Freeman more than they're giving either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel, so you have to figure Freeman will start at some point. This is especially true because the Vikings -- who are not going back to the playoffs -- need to figure out what they're going to do at quarterback in 2014; they should get a great look at Freeman.
That said, I'm really surprised Arizona didn't go after Freeman, who is often compared to Ben Roethlisberger -- you know, the guy Cardinals coach Bruce Arians worked with in Pittsburgh.
I like how aggressive Minnesota is being. After all, for how many more years will the Vikings have Adrian Peterson? Eventually, "All Day" will be "Retired Day." They should try to win while they can, and this is a step in the right direction.
I'm not the biggest fan of Josh Freeman, but I'd rather roll the dice with him than plod along with Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel. Ponder was the result of a knee-jerk draft pick by Minnesota in 2011; the Vikings saw everyone else getting their quarterback of the future and didn't want to miss out, so they over-drafted the Florida State product, and now they're paying for it. Cassel is an average player who is capable of some streaky good play, but when he's bad, he's awful.
Minnesota is not going to the next level with either of these guys, and I'm glad the team realized it. This is a case where the action is much more meaningful than the result, regardless of what that result might be.
They're collecting quarterbacks. The old saying was, "If you have two (or three), you have none." The current thinking in the NFL is this: "If you have three, perhaps one can be flipped for a draft pick down the road."
Matt Cassel isn't a long-term answer. Christian Ponder, who is shaky at best, clearly is not the answer, either. Yes, Ponder is a former first-round draft pick, but thanks to the rookie wage scale, first-round picks no longer handcuff teams the way they once did. Freeman is worth a look.
What happens with Freeman will be determined by how the Vikings' season plays out. If they slip to 1-5 or 1-6, Freeman can have the second half of the year to try to prove he still deserves a gig in the NFL.