With it being a bye week for the Vikings the signing of Josh Freeman is about all there is to talk about.  To be honest, though, even if it wasn’t a bye week this is about all we would want to talk about anyways.  Here are ten random things (facts, thoughts, opinions, etc.) about the signing:

1.  Franchise Tag A Possibility

The Vikings surely hope Freeman comes in and throws for a gazillion yards and six dozen touchdowns and saves their season en route to the Super Bowl… or something like that.  If Freeman does light it up once he hits the field, they will not have to immediately worry about losing Freeman to free agency, despite his one year contract.  According to PFT, Freeman’s contract contains no clause preventing the Vikings from using the “franchise” tag following this season.  If the organization decides Freeman is their guy then he will be hear to stay, but that tag will not be cheap if it comes to that.

2. Yes, I Like The Move

For those asking, I absolutely love this move.  I see no downside.  If Freeman busts, all that is lost is $2 million of Zygi Wilf’s money, at this point.  Freeman has a stronger arm than Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel.  He has more success on his resume than Ponder does, and comes to town with more experience at the same age (25).  Freeman’s ability to throw the deep ball has to be respected which can only help Adrian Peterson.  I just don’t see why some fans remain opposed to this move, which could possibly define a new era of Vikings football for the better.

3.  Eye On The Cap

The Vikings will reportedly have less than $1 million in cap space remaining after signing Freeman.  He signed a one year deal worth $2.83 million, but the prorated amount for 12 games remaining sees him making $2 million from the Vikings.  Unless the Vikings are quick to somehow shed some cap space soon then they are unlikely to sign any other big names this year, or make any lucrative extension offers to their own player.

4.  Corresponding Move To Come

Rick Spielman said the Vikings would wait until Tuesday to announce the corresponding roster move they will make to get their roster down to the allowable limit.  Many are assuming McLeod Bethel-Thompson, currently number three on the quarterback depth chart, will be cut to make room for Freeman.  I’m not so sure that MBT isn’t the guy that makes the most sense to keep around, and I’m also not convinced that a curveball isn’t thrown tomorrow, such as a trade of a quarterback to one of the other nine teams that reportedly contacted Freeman this week.  With any luck, the Vikings could add Freeman and another draft pick or two within the same week.

5.  Ponder Is Likely Done

I’ve stated before that Ponder’s inability to stay healthy throughout his NFL career was an underrated reason while he could fail during his “make or break” 2013 season.  Here we are, in week five of the season, and an injury has opened the door for his veteran backup to outshine him and for the front office to pounce on another available talent.  Despite what Spielman and Leslie Frazier spouted on Monday night, I just don’t see how this team goes back to Christian Ponder… ever.  I think there would have to be some catastrophic events in this team’s future for us to consider Ponder the future of the franchise any longer.

6.  Freeman Won’t Start This Week

Either Ponder or Cassel will get a chance to make the Vikings think twice about naming Freeman the new starter this season.  According to Monday night’s presser, the Vikings will not rush Freeman into action, and he will not play against Carolina on Sunday.  Ponder was expected to miss significant time with his rib injury, perhaps even a few more weeks, so I would bet it is Cassel under center this Sunday.

7.  They Just Aren’t There

Those that don’t like this signing because they would rather Spielman sign a new middle linebacker or defensive back make a ton of sense: except they don’t.  Freeman represents a 25 year old that has shown game-changing ability that was available for a very minimal investment.  What free agent is out there at any other position that represents the value Freeman does?  Not only is there not a starting middle linebacker available, there is arguably not a starting anything available, so the argument just doesn’t hold water.

8.  Character Counts

Absolutely.  I agree 110%.  Character matters in the NFL, especially for a player at a leadership position like quarterback.  Freeman comes with some red flags and those are indeed a concern.  Still, pouring over the hundreds of articles I could find on the matter, I found very little that leads me to believe Tampa head coach Greg Schiano isn’t the common denominator in all of this drama, as all of Freeman’s teammates and media accounts seem to portray him as a hard-working and well-respected professional.  If Freeman did need some sort of wake up call, then maybe Schiano did the dirty work for us, and Freeman is coming to Minnesota having already learned the lessons he needed to.  The old “change of scenery” theory could easily be at play here.

9.  Nothing Preventing Another Drafted QB

The signing of Freeman does nothing to prevent the Vikings from selecting another rookie quarterback in 2014.  If they resign him to a large contract then, sure, they probably won’t invest a first round pick into the position, but if they resign Freeman to big money they also don’t need a first round quarterback.  Still, don’t think this mid-season signing somehow prevents them from looking at the strong 2014 quarterback class for help.

10.  2013 Suddenly Relevant Again

The 2013 season is on the brink of being lost, and it very well could be lost before Freeman even takes the field, but regardless of Minnesota’s win-loss record reach week will have relevance through the end of the season.  Evaluating Freeman’s ability to be a franchise quarterback provides a reason to watch closely no matter the circumstances.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Adam,
    A very well written post! I very much agree with point 7. In regards to point 8, there is no mistaking Shiano has made some waves and caused some chaos within the team in Tampa. There is a reason why Winslow and Blount are no longer Bucs. Shiano has been the common link for both of their departures ans there also has been other players that have complained about his personality clashing with a lot of players on that team.

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  2. Re: #7 the linebackers. Compared to a few other needy teams, at least the Vikings are mostly healthy. The Giants are hurting so bad they traded for a broken down Jon Beason. Sure he was once a pro bowl caliber player, but he’s been hurt the last few years. Carolina must be happy to gained some draft picks for him.

    Give them young Penn St players a chance, they gotta be better then that Jeff Awful, Erring Henderdog. Erring is so piss poor at making reads, I bet he has starved to death every animal he has ever owned.

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  3. he’s free, man! ok, he might have an attitude problem, but the more i read, the more i think it was his coach, so he’s worth the risk for sure, especially for us, like a man dying of thirst and finding an oasis in the desert when you’re out of water, but ya don’t know if it’s poisoned. this 12-game tryout is all about potential, and he desperately wanted out of tampa and wanted to come to MN, so if he’s going to be happy and good, he got what he wanted, and this is great for both him and us

    i’ve been thinking it might be best if he doesn’t light it up this year (unless we win it all, which isn’t likely), cuz it’d be harder and more expensive to sign him to a longer term deal, but i’m excited to see him play for us. he’s gotta learn our offense and mesh with the team, so it could take some time, and he could turn out to be just mediocre, too

    this timing in the season, around the bye, was ripe for a QB change, and we talked about it here, so ponder and cassel shouldn’t be surprised, either, whoever stays, and that’s the only downside i could see, is a hit to the attitude of the QB that stays, but hey, neither one was looking like the long term answer at QB, and yes, we can still draft a QB, but the young buc gives us a chance to be ahead of the curve, which is excellent

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  4. Adam,
    Great article!
    All good points, #10 regardless still have something to watch in Freeman.
    Stadium kept us going last year …

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  5. Ole- Sippin on that Johnny Walker a little early? I know there’s a time difference, but dang.

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  6. To all those crying about 3mil: Freeman isn’t free. Also, ditto on point 7. According to some whiners all we have to do is trade Tobby Webb for as many picks as we gave up for Herschel Walker and draft a pro bowl QB. It’s that easy.

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  7. A very nice summary Adam. Obviously none of us knows what the true plan is, and I still suspect Ponder’s status to be better than some assume here, but there is no denying that the Vikes are serious about that position getting better one way or another.

    And I realize there aren’t any starting linebackers out there. I am just so much more concerned about the team’s #29 points allowed than I am about our #5 points scored. I hope one of these three guys is the answer at QB, because we need that first pick next year to get us some defense.

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    • coach, it’s because QB is such a high profile position, and we haven’t had an answer there for so long, other than one year of favre. LB really concerns me, too, and i hope the young guys we have can fill in there, like mauti. our secondary is another sore spot (yes, i said that), but our bye has been at a good time for our DBs to heal up

      the nfc wild card might not take much to get into the playoffs, too, and we’ve got three division home games left

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