Why Josh Freeman Isn't the Future at Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings

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Why Josh Freeman Isn't the Future at Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings
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Josh Freeman was given the short end of the stick when the Minnesota Vikings asked him to start an NFL football game with less than 10 practices with the team under his belt.

With terminology, nuances and personnel, NFL offenses are far too complicated to judge somebody after one start. Freeman entered Monday's game not knowing who can get open on what routes, who's good at adjusting a route to react to the defense or who to look for when a play breaks down.

The Vikings were lucky if Freeman knew everyone's name in the huddle.

With so little practice time, Freeman is probably still unclear on not only the plays but probably on who's who and where they are supposed to be on every play. So it was unfair to toss him into the lineup Monday night and expect great things.

Having said all that, it's clear that Josh Freeman isn't the Vikings' future at quarterback.

That's not based solely on last night, although his atrocious performance might be the exclamation point on that argument.

Coming up with a definitive outlook on Freeman's future with Minnesota after one game is silly. But...

There's not a playbook in the world that should have to tell you not to throw a ball up for grabs on second down in your opponent's red zone. There's not a playbook in the world that can teach you to throw the football with accuracy.

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

An NFL quarterback needs to be able to see a player wearing the same color uniform as him running across the field and be able to put the ball in a remotely catchable spot. Far too often, Freeman can't. 

Monday night's football game was an abomination. The New York Giants were every bit as bad as advertised; they looked every bit like an 0-6 team, and they whipped the Vikings 23-7. 

It was an awful football game, a game so bad that you might not have been surprised to wake up and read a headline that said: "Monday Night Football Cancelled After Wonderful 43-Year Run."

The Twitter universe was awash in aghast reactions, for both the game itself and the play of Freeman in particular. ESPN's Kevin Seifert wonders if Vikings general manager Rick Spielman will be held accountable for the quarterback carousel.

Jeff Darlington of NFL.com and Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report were also less than enthused about what they were watching.

It’s not a good thing when your Twitter feed is more entertaining than the game you’re watching.

So what to make of it?

There's a reason Josh Freeman was released by a winless team. There's a reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't even get a seventh-round pick in return for him. There's a reason the Vikings were able to sign him off the scrap pile.

In the Vikings' defense, they had nothing to lose in taking a shot on Freeman. He's a young kid who's had some big-time success in the NFL. Neither Christian Ponder nor Matt Cassel looked good enough to be able to lead Minnesota back into the playoff hunt after a 1-4 start.

We can now add Freeman's name to that list.

Never a very accurate thrower, Freeman seems to have lost something over the last four years. His spectacular numbers from 2010 are but a distant memory, and his completion percentage numbers are going the wrong way in a hurry.

Josh Freeman's Statistics Are Going South
2010 61.4% 3,451 yds 25 TDs 6 INTs
2011 62.8% 3,592 yds 16 TDs 22 INTs
2012 54.8% 4,065 yds 27 TDs 17 INTs
2013 42.8% 761 yds 2 TDs 4 INTs


None of this is to say that Freeman is the only reason the Vikings lost to the Giants Monday night. This is a team that is full of holes, starting with an offensive line that has regressed at least as much as Freeman's accuracy.

The offense is bad, the defense is bad, the special teams are error-prone and the coaching staff is quickly becoming one of the lame-duck variety.

Freeman will remain the starting quarterback—and he should, at least for the time being. If he can't play any better than he did against the Giants, the Vikings can't keep trotting him onto the field. Vikings fans have to realize that they are now saddled with three quarterbacks who have been deemed not good enough to start in the last month.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings front office has a lot to answer for by seemingly holding quarterback tryouts in the middle of the season. The long view will probably prove that this team wasn't good enough with any of these three at quarterback. Neither Ponder nor Cassel was good enough to make this roster click, and now it appears that Freeman isn't either.

Freeman has a stronger arm than both Ponder and Cassel, but if he can't put the ball where he wants to, it doesn't do him any good. His accuracy was so far off Monday that no amount of playbook study will help him succeed.

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Freeman should and will get more opportunities from the Vikings to prove that he can pull himself out of his horrific throwing slump. Monday night was as bad as it gets for an NFL quarterback. Freeman will get the opportunity to prove that he can play better given more practice time with the Vikings.

The guess here is that Minnesota will once again be looking for a franchise quarterback in the 2014 draft because it doesn't have one on the current roster.

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