Sunday, December 4, 2016

matt cassel

Kyle Rudolph TD Carolina
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Finding a positive word to write after the Vikings were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday is a daunting task, even for an optimist like me.

My mother taught me; if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

Well, I can’t just leave this blog blank, can I? No, I need to find a ray of light in this dark Vikings’ cellar I am stuck in. It’s a deep, damp hole for sure, but I do see a glimmer of light shining down on the Vikings’ 6-foot-6 TE, Kyle Rudolph.

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The Vikings are set to host Carolina this afternoon and I want to remind everyone interested to join us for a Live Chat during the action.

The inactives for today include recently acquired quarterback Josh Freeman, as Matt Cassel will remain the starter, with Christian Ponder playing the role of backup.

The other inactives today are:  Safety Mistral Raymond, Linebacker Gerald Hodges, Linebacker Audie Cole, Defensive Tackle Chase Baker, Defensive End Justin Trattou, and Guard Jeff Baca.

The Vikings are much healthier coming out of the bye and Chris Cook will be welcomed back into this struggling secondary as they prepare to face Cam Newton.

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.

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.

Josh Freeman will not be the latest “missed opportunity” when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings and their troubled history at the quarterback position.  He may not be the savior either, as he carries some baggage with him, but we will not have to wonder “what if” when it comes to this 25 year old unexpectedly becoming a mid-season free agent.

Reports, confirmed on Twitter by Freeman’s agent, announced late Sunday night that Freeman picked the Vikings as his next team and has joined the team on a one year deal.

The move will be dissected and scrutinized all week long (and beyond), but there is very little at risk here other than some cap space, and Rick Spielman should get some credit for taking such a proactive approach at such an important position.

Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson each face some uncertainty this week as it seems unlikely that the team goes forward with four quarterbacks and Joe Webb on the roster.  The most likely scenario perhaps involves sending Ponder (ribs) the the injured reserve.

We’ll be monitoring the situation as it progresses, so be sure to check back in for the latest.

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