Few quarterbacks get the second chance that Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman is getting in Minnesota. After being cut by the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, Freeman quickly signed with the quarterback needy Minnesota Vikings, and this weekend, he’ll be the team’s starting quarterback.
The decision by head coach Leslie Frazier to start Freeman ends a tumultuous few weeks for Freeman. While it answers one question (Will Freeman start?), it opens the door for a new one. How well will Freeman play?
As it turns out, that’s not a simple question to answer. Freeman will obviously feel far more comfortable starting for any team not named the Buccaneers, but on the other side of the equation, Freeman has learned an entirely new system in under two weeks with the Vikings. In other words, expect mistakes.
The difference between Freeman and Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder revolves around experience and talent. Freeman was once the centerpiece to Raheem Morris’ “youngry” Buccaneers. That team wasn’t the most talented bunch, but they did what they had to do to win a lot of games, and Freeman was a large part of that.
Still, as good as Freeman once was, his career has been marred by inconsistent play. For every impressive touchdown throw, there’s an equally terrible interception. Freeman’s play is streaky, especially in the Greg Schiano era.
This is supposed to be a new opportunity for Freeman, and to this point, it’s playing out as well as he could have possibly imagined. Because Freeman is only under contract for the rest of the season, he’ll be free to test free agency if the Vikings aren’t intent on keeping him in the fold.
So, the incentive for Freeman to play well is clearly in play. With a solid half-season with the Vikings, Freeman could set himself up for a bit payday following this year as well as reestablishing himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
All that being said, and getting back to our original question, will Josh Freeman play well against the Giants on Monday Night Football? Yes, expect him to play up to expectations, but also remember that he’s still fresh in the Vikings’ offense. Expect mistakes ranging from simple miscommunications to completely busted plays. That’s not unexpected. Also expect flashes of excellent play. Freeman is still a solid quarterback in a new system. He’s happy to be out of Tampa Bay, and that may show up in his play Monday night.