It may not have been a huge surprise when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Josh Freeman. Starting the season winless, the finger has to be pointed somewhere. And more often than not, the finger is usually pointed at the quarterback. He wasn’t on the market very long before the Minnesota Vikings decided to add Freeman to their roster. The problem is that the Vikings already have three other quarterbacks on their roster. The question isn’t only why the Vikings decided to sign Freeman, but also why Freeman would decide to go to Minnesota, rather than to a team where he has a better chance to play. Well the answer may be that Freeman has a better chance to start than others may be thinking.
Currently the Vikings have Christian Ponder as their starting quarterback. Ponder has been the starting QB in Minnesota since the team drafted him in the first round in 2011. Without much pressure behind him, Ponder had the chance to grow without worrying about having his spot taken. And with Adrian Peterson in the backfield with him, Vikings fans have had high expectations. The problem is he hasn’t lived up to the potential. After going down with an injury of his own week three, the ball was given to backup Matt Cassel. Cassel, who backed up Tom Brady in New England before becoming the starter in Kansas City, led the Vikings to their first win of the season over the Steelers in London. Although it doesn’t look like Cassel, who moved to Minnesota this offseason, will become the long term resolution for the Vikings. It’s also important to remember that Joe Webb is also on the Vikings roster. Webb has been with the Vikings since be drafted, and actually led them to a win after being inserted into a playoff game last year.
Now that Freeman has been placed into the equation, you may be wondering how this plays out for all of the other quarterbacks. Before their upcoming week 5 game against the Panthers, Matt Cassel has been reportedly running with the first string offense. Whether or not this is because Freeman is still learning the playbook is still to be seen. But what’s likely is that Cassel and Freeman will battle it out in their own attempt to become the second string back. That said, we assume that Christian Ponder will be on one of the shortest leashes in the league for the remainder of the season. After all, Freeman was a first-round pick in his own draft and is also the highest paid quarterback for the Vikings. It’s unlikely that fans in Minnesota will like the idea of Freeman being on the bench, especially if Ponder isn’t winning games.
The person who will have the highest hopes that Freeman’s arrival changes up things in Minnesota is surely Adrian Peterson. Quite possibly the best back in the league, Peterson has had to see defenses change their entire game plans, knowing that the Vikings don’t offer much in the way of a passing game. If one of these quarterbacks can find a way to utilize Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Cordarrelle Patterson, than lanes will certainly open up for AP to run all over defenses.
The Vikings find themselves in one of the hardest divisions in all of football. At 1-3, they are a game behind the Packers and two games behind the Lions and Bears. All of these teams have pieces that can make them a perennial Super Bowl contender. The Vikings hope that with the addition of Freeman, they can be mentioned in that same sentence.