Greg Schiano should be worried.
Despite the three-ring circus that became Josh Freeman's benching and release by the Bucs, the fifth-year quarterback apparently drew considerable interest on the free-agent market. Even just prior to the announcement of the Vikings acquiring Freeman, ESPN's Chris Mortensen tweeted:
Now before everyone starts screaming at Schiano and Bucs general manager Mark Dominik for letting Freeman go for nothing, think back to last week and remember the nightmare the Freeman situation became.
One Buc Place resembled an actual pirate ship following a barrage of cannon fire. Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter reported that Freeman incurred two fines for "conduct detrimental to the team." The NFLPA intends on investigating the leaks of Freeman's drug treatment program, according to ESPN.
What does it all mean? Well, it definitely meant Freeman had to go. Regardless of who is the source of the leaks, the relationship between Freeman and the Bucs was poisoning the entire organization. Don't be surprised if one day, when someone chronicles this fiasco, it is revealed that the Glazers mandated Freeman's release in the end.
With the divorce finalized and Freeman now in purple, there is one possibility Schiano should dread until the end of the season and possibly beyond. The Vikings offered Freeman a two-year deal, but he opted for one according to Jay Glazer.
Vikings wanted him for a 2 year deal but josh wanted 1. It's on Ponder to play his butt off to keep his job.—Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 7, 2013
Offering Freeman two years means current Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder's days as the starter are numbered. If Josh Freeman starts under center for Minnesota, Greg Schiano better hope for one thing: the Vikings better not make the playoffs.
The idea of the Vikings going to the playoffs with Josh Freeman at the helm certainly seems far-fetched. His stats over three games are as bad as can be.
The question the Vikings may indirectly answer is this: Was it Josh or was it Schiano?
It would be unwise to write Freeman off too early. Though he will be entering a new offensive system, Freeman is at heart a gunslinger. While that gets him into trouble, it is also a big reason why the Bucs went 10-6 in 2010.
If Freeman finds himself on one of his patented hot streaks going into December, the Vikings have the pieces to make a run at the playoffs. Obviously, Adrian Peterson forces defenses to stay honest. The Minnesota defense is well coached and boasts some star talent.
Sounds a little bit like the Bucs, no?
Schiano's inability to coexist with Freeman cost the Buccaneers a legitimate starting quarterback. Was there blame on both sides? Absolutely, but it falls on the head coach to use the talent available to him. The fact that he couldn't win with Freeman will be an issue for the Glazers to consider if the Vikings are successful with Freeman.
Fortunately for Schiano, the Vikings face an uphill battle to get into the playoffs. They currently sit at the bottom of a division that includes Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, the scrappy Detroit Lions and the roller coaster ride that is the Chicago Bears.
Nonetheless, if Josh Freeman just looks good playing for the Vikings, Greg Schiano's seat will only get hotter.