5 Reasons the Minnesota Vikings Shouldn't Retain Josh Freeman This Offseason
Freeman was considered by many in the industry to be "damaged goods" after his fallout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach Greg Schiano.
Freeman signed with the Vikings in the hope of establishing himself as the quarterback of the future as Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel were proving themselves to not be long-term options.
Instead, the 2009 first round pick has played in only one game that ended disastrously for Freeman.
At this point, barring some unforeseen conclusion to the 2013 season, it's time for the two sides to part ways in 2014.
Inside are five reasons why this should be the case, listed in no particular order.
Freeman has had no reported off-the-field issues during his brief stay in Minnesota and has handled his limited playing time in a professional manner.
But there is a history there of butting heads with his coaches and irresponsibility for being late to team meetings and photos. As the quarterback, typically the face of a franchise, that's not something you want on your resume.
Freeman's past is littered with issues, and it may only be a matter of time before he proves problematic again.
The arm strength is real.
That much was on display in Josh Freeman's lone start with the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 21. On that night, the majority of Freeman's misses—and there were plenty in his 20-of-53 passing effort—were well beyond his wide receivers.
In a twisted way, it was a welcomed change from the bounces Christian Ponder is known for, but it was still a memorable debut for all the wrong reasons.
Freeman was victimized by drops throughout that game, which would have improved his completion percentage. But there were still far too many passes that sailed well beyond their intended targets.
This isn't a new phenomenon in his game.
The former Kansas State Wildcat has a career completion percentage of 57.6, and his career-best completion percentage rests at 62.8.
Drew Brees, known as one of the more accurate passers in the NFL, posted his lowest completion percentage since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2012. It was 63 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point better than Freeman's best.
In a league that continues to become more aerial driven, erratic passers will have to shape up or get out. Freeman's time is coming.
Vikings Will Likely Have an Early First-Round Pick Incoming
Barring an unforeseen change in the play of Minnesota's quarterbacks, either a first-round pick or a high draft pick will enter Winter Park this spring as the quarterback of the future.
Josh Freeman is still a relatively young player (he turns 26 in January) and will want an opportunity to cement himself as someone's franchise quarterback.
If Minnesota drafts a highly touted quarterback, as all expect it to, then he won't be a happy camper in Minneapolis. Most likely, he'd cause more Tampa Bay-like troubles.
Do the Vikings want to expose their fresh-off-the-boat quarterback to that type of environment?
And even if Freeman is a consummate pro about the whole thing, does Minnesota want its newly drafted quarterback to learn from Freeman? To learn his habits as a quarterback? His mannerisms?
A fresh start would be best for both parties.
He's Been Inactive with Ponder and Cassel Ahead of Him ....
Look at the Minnesota Vikings' depth chart at quarterback:
- No. 1: Christian Ponder.
- No. 2: Matt Cassel.
- No. 3: Josh Freeman.
Now, this depth chart is subject to change this week, as coach Leslie Frazier has alluded to.
But how low must the Vikings think of Freeman if he can't surpass Ponder or Cassel?
Anyone can see that Cassel, minus the Pittsburgh performance, hasn't played like a starting quarterback. Ponder has played like a slot machine—you never know what you're going to get, but you just know you won't win the jackpot.
Freeman has been inactive for three of the four games since his Vikings debut Oct. 21 despite being cleared by the medical staff after the Green Bay game on Oct. 27.
I'm not involved with NFL personnel decisions, but even I can tell you that doesn't bode well for Freeman.
May Not Mesh Well with New Coaching Staff
At this point, it is all but a foregone conclusion that Leslie Frazier and his staff will be out at season's end.
Coming off a 10-6 campaign and a playoff berth, Frazier was expected to guide a team returning most key components to the postseason once again.
Instead, Christian Ponder has (at best) been stagnant, and the defense is far worse than it was last season, leaving Adrian Peterson to try to carry the team even more so than he did last season. And it's tough for a running back to make any impact with the offensive line playing the way it has.
All of that regression or stagnation, and a 2-8 record, leaves Frazier and company with one foot out the door.
One of the first things new coaches love to do is get their kind of guy under center.
You get the picture.
Is a new coach going to want to deal with Josh Freeman and whatever potential baggage he may have by that time?
Most likely not.