This afternoon, the Vikings officially made Josh Freeman the newest QB to come to Minnesota. In doing so, the team had to decide who would be released from the team to make room for the ex-Buccaneers signal caller. Ultimately, the team decided to waive third-string QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Though he never saw regular season playing time with the Vikings, many fans were intrigued by the prospect of Bethel-Thompson continuing to develop and potentially turning into something worthwhile eventually.

Of course, the decision to release Bethel-Thompson instead of a certain Christian Ponder, who is currently dealing with a rib injury, sparked some backlash amongst fans. While there were other routes the Vikings could have taken to make room for Freeman, to me, waiving Bethel-Thompson seemed the most obvious and correct move to make. While it was fun to think that maybe, possibly, someday MBT could develop into a franchise quarterback and great story, it was highly unlikely. Instead, the Vikings chose to retain three more experienced quarterbacks and have a full-fledged quarterback battle.

If you are a frequent VT visitor then surely you know I have been a Ponder apologist for quite some time. While I have accepted the fact that he is very likely not the future of this franchise, the hate has gone a little far. Not quite sure why some out there are so insistent that he should be just completely kicked to the curb. Even if he’s not starting franchise material he is a more than capable back-up. And I stand firmly behind my belief that Ponder has not been horrible this season. He hasn’t shown signs of greatness either, though. Unfortunately for him, in the third year of your franchise QB audition, that is exactly what is expected of you.

Ironically, it was just a week ago that Coach Frazier stood in front of the press and reaffirmed that Ponder was the starting quarterback… While he essentially danced around saying something similar in his most recent press conference, make no doubt about it, Ponder’s job as the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings has all but disappeared.

For those looking for my personal opinion on the whole situation, here it is: I support the move to bring in Josh Freeman. In fact, I think Freeman should start as soon as he has learned all five plays in the Musgrave playbook. I really don’t care if Cassel is playing better and has “earned” a chance at the starting role… Cassel is not the future of this franchise. Is Freeman? I’m not confident he is but we can’t say for sure. What I absolutely don’t want to happen (which means this is exactly what will happen) is for Josh Freeman to play the last 8-9 games of the season and do just enough to convince the Vikings front office that they don’t need to address the QB position in next year’s draft. Regardless of how Freeman does, it would be wise for this team to invest in an insurance policy in a deep draft class.

After learning about the Freeman signing I spent some time watching some tape on Josh Freeman and there were a couple things I took away.

  1. Freeman has a nice deep ball. With that being said, a lot of his success comes from chucking it up and letting his receivers go up and get it… But there are also some throws outside the hash-marks and down the field that are down right gorgeous. It will be interesting to see how the addition of Freeman affects the Vikings play calling. Everyone knows that our west coast offense revolves heavily around, outside of handing #28 the rock, passes into the flat and quick routes typically inside the first-down marker. Is this because Musgrave didn’t have a quarterback he could trust to rocket the ball down the field? Is it by design with no regard to the abilities of the quarterback? Time will tell…
  2. Freeman does not progress through his reads. This is worrisome to me as it is one of my biggest gripes with Ponder. Almost everything I saw involved Freeman snapping the ball and immediately starting down one receiver. Sound familiar? Yeah…

The Vikings have managed to inject some excitement into an otherwise uninteresting and frustrating season so far. While Matt Cassel will likely start this weekend at home against the Carolina Panthers, it’s incredibly likely Freeman will get his first shot the following week against the Giants. When Freeman does start, he’ll begin his own audition and can hopefully provide stability at a position that seems to be forever in flux for the Vikings.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson will now go through the waiver process. If he makes it through without being acquired by another time, the Vikings can choose to keep him on their practice squad.

39 COMMENTS

  1. And if all three QB’s don’t do well, the Vikings will have a high draft pick. I like the Freeman signing. Maybe is will be great, maybe he will be bad. Vikings can find out without costing them too much money. I read the contract is incentive based. So Freeman may not get all the money.

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  2. I feel he had the potential to be an excellent QB. Hope we can get him back on the practice squad.

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  3. The indisputable difference between Freeman staring down his first read, and Ponder staring down his first (and only) read is the defense will have a fraction of a second to jump the route with Freeman. They can stop, re-tie their shoe, blow their nose, count pretty girls in the stands, get their phone number, and STILL jump the route and make the INT with Ponder’s rainbow lobs.

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      • Ok – I’ll play along…. “…to a receiver 8 yards down field!”

        Are you rating your own comments again, Tomb? Stop that.

        VT seems to have turned into a contest of ways and levels to trash Christian Ponder. Thanks for keeping a little balance here, Brett. I agree with your observations on him.

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        • Admit it. It felt good to throw out that ‘receiver 8 yards down the field’ joke, didn’t it?

          Come to the dark side of the force.

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        • Coach, it’s not only most of VT that trashes Ponder, it’s pretty much the entire world, other than you and Brett.
          You sort of remind me of Cyrano de Bergerac when his good friend Le Bret is trying to console him on a lost love;
          Tell this to all the world – And then to me
          Say very softly that…Ponder is a bust.

          Sorry but it’s just the sad truth, the guy didn’t make it in the NFL

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          • That’s the first time I’ve been told I remind someone of Cyrano de Bergerac. I wished I knew if that was a good thing or bad. But you wouldn’t speak bad of me, Fran, so it must be good.

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              • Your nose. Your nose is rather large.

                Fran, the last time you brought up Cyrano, like a year ago, I had to buy the damn Jose Ferrer version, and I wasn’t disappointed. Was as good as I remembered, especially the first half hour.

                Would never have guessed you to be such a fan, you old appleknocker.

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                • I’m glad I was able to turn you on to Cyrano. A great story and one of my favorite books. Right up there with Bob Costas’s ‘100 Yards of Glory’

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              • Not so sure Fran. I checked on the guy and I can’t understand a thing he says, along with the fact he’s got hair down to his … Also learned he fell in love with his cousin. Couldn’t find anywhere that told if he played offense or defense. So how do I remind you of him again?

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                • How do you remind me of him? Shoot Coach, he was the finest swordsman in all of France in his time. But of course that’s not the reason.
                  You’re in love with Christian Ponder and he doesn’t love you back. In fact, he hates your guts and delights in breaking your heart every Sunday.
                  Let him go.

                  Yes, I put this under the wrong thread earlier. . .so sue me.

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                  • Unrequited love is the saddest love of all.

                    Coach, you need to head down to your local lake or pond, and skip rocks while melancholy music plays in the background. It’s how you get over these things. I know, because I see them do that on TV’s & movies all the time.

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    • Has anyone had any luck obtaining the definition of a “hurry”? Can you get a half of a hurry along with another lineman on a given play? Wonder if any D-lineman has an incentive in his/her contract for extra pay for 20 hurries in a season? Does Jared have a demo when he gets a hurry? What does it say about a defense if the QB seldom/never has to hurry during a game?

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      • By the way, Coach, you keep throwing out these stats about offense vs. defense. Know who the top 3 rated defenses (statistically) are right now?

        1. Houston Texans
        2. New York Jets
        3. Carolina Panthers

        Doesn’t really reflect on their W-L records, huh?

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        • If I type slower will that help?

          Yards, schmards, I don’t care about “stats”, I have consistently talked about the only stat that matters, “points”. The top three points-per-game allowed teams are the Chiefs, Pats and Panthers, combined 11-4 record. The bottom three points-per-game allowed teams are the Giants, Jaguars and Eagles, combined 2-13 record. (The Vikes are fourth from the bottom in PPG allowed, which would make the bottom four record 3-16, but we’ll stick with your 3 comparisons). Yes, points allowed DOES reflect on their records, (and thanks for that nice hanging curve – much appreciated!)

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          • Damn, I was hoping you wouldn’t notice the units, as it destroys my point.

            But really, the ONLY stat that matters isn’t points, it’s wins/losses. So there, put THAT in your pipe and smoke it but don’t inhale.

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            • Yes, I agree… and if the points allowed data statistically supports a direct correlation to the wins/losses data, then… I think…one can conclude… yes… that I could be right. And more importantly, that you could be wrong.

              (Consider your point “smoked”.)

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              • “… I could be right. And more importantly…”

                You know, beginning a sentence with a conjunction is rude. And if you do it again, I’ll dangle a participle up in this biznatch.

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                • OK. I realize the correct phrasing should be “I am right. More importantly, you are wrong.”

                  In a court of law, I think your response would be a tactic known as a “redirect”. Can I assume the white flag has been raised?

                  By the way, what category of our fair language is the phrase, “You know”? Might as well learn something out of this exchange.

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    • How do you remind me of him? Shoot Coach, he was the finest swordsman in all of France in his time. But of course that’s not the reason.
      You’re in love with Christian Ponder and he doesn’t love you back. In fact, he hates your guts and delights in breaking your heart every Sunday.
      Let him go.

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  4. Seems like McCleod BT is the odds on winner as the best QB never to play for the Minnesota Vikings. You know what they say, “when you’re losing, the best QB is the one who has played the least.”

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  5. Michael Bethel Thomas cut? This just shows how damn stupid the Vikings are. The entire front office should be fired.

    This guy had great potential to move to play receiver and/or play special teams. His teammates loved him, he’s really a good guy and is a wonderful athlete!

    A really bad move.

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    • Sorry, CS, a good possibility, but the records show he did enter one game for the Vikes, though amassing no statistics. Perhaps he handed off to DJ Dozier. From there he went on to play in one game for the Seahawks three years later where he completed 5 passes for 41 yards and a TD, and rushing for another 12 yards. Wonder what caused such a budding career to be cut short like that?

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      • Ha! We actually have seven plays now. Remember that forward fumble for a first down against the Steelers? That was a designed fumble.

        Pure genius.

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    • goodbye, mbt. he had a good arm and was a good story. hope it ends there

      now let’s get JF to stop staring down his WRs

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