I can’t say that I was surprised to hear about the Minnesota Vikings new (to them) quarterback acquisition this week. Look who they are currently rolling with: Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. I can’t say that I was overly excited about the prospect of playing Josh Freeman two times a year, either.
I’ve heard and read conflicting arguments on the matter. Some say he is an instant upgrade. Others contend that he is just another disappointing addition to an already underwhelming quarterback room. Who is predicting correctly? It’s impossible to say … yet.
The Minnesota Vikings have committed to Christian Ponder publicly, but are also shelling out $3 million to Freeman for what? Eleven games? Seems like something greater is at work here. Let’s not forget that Matt Cassel has given the faltering Vikings their only win of the season, over the Pittsburgh Steelers; another winless team, but still no easy task in the National Football League.
Even if they pretend that Ponder has their allegiance, it’s only a matter of time before Freeman takes the reins. Could the Green Bay Packers coming to town be the catalyst for that move? I think it just might. And what if that does happen? What does this mean for the Pack?
To know that means knowing Josh Freeman’s capabilities. Since entering the league in 2009 as the 17th overall pick in the draft, his performance has been less than stellar. He has posted subpar numbers in nearly every category, save his 2010 season in which he had his highest QBR (95.8) and his best touchdown-to-interception ratio (25-6). His performance in 2011 and 2012 was nothing short of terrible and his tendencies this season are following suit. However, I don’t want to be too quick to throw the towel in on Freeman.
He hasn’t had a cast of kings around him in Tampa – on either side of the ball. He has had head coaching unrest for the past couple of years. He was essentially “inherited” by Greg Schiano when he took over the Bucs last year, and he hasn’t shown Freeman the type of support to lend the notion that he is THE guy in Tampa. Supporting cast isn’t everything, but it is something … and Vincent Jackson can’t do it all. Will Minnesota have more weapons for Freeman to build on?
Well, thanks in part to former Green Bay golden boy Greg Jennings, I am inclined to say yes. Freeman has athleticism. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he does have sufficient downfield vision. With a big play threat like Jennings, he can make Freeman a better quarterback. With a big, physical threat at tight end like Kyle Rudolph, he can make Freeman a better quarterback. With a POWER back in Adrian Peterson, he can make Freeman a MUCH better quarterback.
Am I worried?
Do I think that the Packers still have what it takes to prevail?
Absolutely. There is no Vikings match for Aaron Rodgers and the Big Three.
But without the guarantee of Christian Ponder flubbing it up in the backfield, the Packers need to be clicking on all cylinders when they meet Freeman in the dome, week eight.