Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman may play again at Lambeau Field, but this time he will be wearing the purple of the Minnesota Vikings. Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Josh Freeman to the Vikings: What does it mean for the Packers and NFC North Division?

Much has been made today of the signing of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman by the Minnesota Vikings.

Well, isn’t that nice.

Now the Vikings have two first round quarterbacks on their roster who are terrible on their best day and horrible on their worst. With Vikings coach Leslie Frasier saying that despite the signing of a $3 million man in Freeman that their starting quarterback is still Christian Ponder. That’s disregarding that the team’s only win this season has been orchestrated by the guy who should be under center – Matt Cassell.

Frankly, I wouldn’t wish this quarterback situation on my worst enemy.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is still the team’s starting quarterback, according to head coach Leslie Frasier. But for how long? Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Adding Freeman, the 17th pick in the 2009 draft, onto the team’s roster means that one of those guys will have to go – and at this point if Frasier had to push the button that guy would most likely be Cassell. What that head coach sees in Ponder is beyond me, but now at least they’ve given themselves a choice in Freeman.

But think about it … Freeman isn’t going to hit the field anytime soon. If Ponder is healthy enough to play this coming weekend, he will be under center. If he isn’t, it will be Cassell.

Even if Freeman were to hit the field, statistically, he’s not much of an upgrade. Here’s how Freeman has fared in the first three games by the Bucs: He lost all three games while completing 43-of-94 passes (45.7 percent) for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Those are Ponder-like numbers.

In his career, Freeman has been nothing better than pedestrian. Here are his overall numbers: He has a 78.8 career quarterback rating, completing 58.2 percent of his passes. He has 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions.

Here are Ponder’s numbers: A 75.8 quarterback rating in 29 games, with a 59.2 completion rate, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

I see a trend here. The Vikings are fast becoming a Chicago Bears clone – a team with a history of bad quarterbacks.

So, does the signing of Freeman mean much to the Vikings’ main competition – teams from the NFC North, including the Green Bay Packers? Probably not much today or next week.

However, if Ponder continues to stink it up and Cassell gets the call, then Freeman will have to wait at least a couple of weeks to earn his shot. That would give him the time learn the system so that he doesn’t have to wear the playbook on his wrist … it would also set up Freeman as the starter when the Green Bay Packers march into the Metrodome in three weeks.

While that scenario may be a stretch, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. If the Vikings are paying a guy $3 million, he’s not going to be riding the bench for too long, especially if the team falls to 1-4 or 1-5. If that scenario plays out, Freeman would have nothing to lose at that point, and neither would the Vikings.

Regardless of when Freeman finally hits the field, it will surely raise the interest level across the NFC North. Maybe he makes the Vikings an immediate winner; maybe not.

When it’s all said and done, my guess is that the Vikings will be jockeying once again for a good draft position. While I don’t hope at any time that the Vikings have success, I feel that they have at least taken a step to try to improve.

I just don’t see it happening anytime soon.

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