Posted October 07, 2013

Josh Freeman signs with Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings, NFC North
Josh Freeman will compete with Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder in Minnesota.

Josh Freeman (top) will compete with Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder in Minnesota. (Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)

Josh Freeman’s brief foray into free agency ended late Sunday night, when the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback opted to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. Freeman’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, confirmed the news by tweeting simply, “Vikings!!!”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Freeman’s deal with the Vikings is worth $3 million — not bad considering that the Buccaneers still owe the recently released Freeman more than $6 million on his old contract.

Freeman’s presence in Minnesota further complicates a quarterback situation that already includes Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. Ponder started the year as the Vikings’ No. 1 QB, before an injury forced him to give way to Cassel for the team’s Week 4 game in London. Cassel staked his claim to the job by throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Pittsburgh.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said last week that Ponder is still the team’s starting quarterback, but also that Ponder is “still injured”; one report out of Minnesota speculated that Ponder would miss three to four games with a rib ailment.

So Cassel was the frontrunner to start Minnesota’s Week 6 game vs. Carolina. He may still be the guy, even with Freeman now in tow. Frazier’s decision may depend on how quickly Freeman can get up to speed in Minnesota after falling out of favor in Tampa Bay.

The 25-year-old QB was the Buccaneers’ first-round draft pick in 2009 and started 56 games between the ensuing season and ’12. However, the current regime, led by head coach Greg Schiano, selected N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon in the 2013 draft, a sign that Freeman might have been running out of time in Tampa Bay.

That belief came to fruition thanks to an ugly set of circumstances. First, Freeman was benched for Glennon and then made inactive for the Buccaneers’ Week 4 game. A series of negative reports then came to light about Freeman, including that the QB had missed meetings and was a Stage One participant in the NFL’s drug-testing program.

The Buccaneers finally released Freeman on Thursday.

Several teams were believed to be interested in Freeman’s services after spurning Tampa Bay’s attempts to trade him. In addition to the Vikings, the QB-starved Bills and Browns were mentioned as possible landing spots. So too were Green Bay and San Francisco, teams that could use an upgrade at the backup quarterback position.

In the end, Freeman opted for Minnesota, where he could wind up the starter sooner rather than later (and possibly where he received the most lucrative offer). Given how his time in Tampa Bay ended, Freeman’s probably satisfied enough just to have another opportunity.

24 comments
AnthonySexton
AnthonySexton

That was the best thing schiano ever did and the stupidest thing frazier ever did enjoy him we got glennon

pandah462
pandah462

So...what about JaMarcus Russell?

x72
x72

Nickname: J-Free

jamsub
jamsub

As a Vikings fan I am not sure what to think here. They just gave a guy as much as the other two QBs combined for the year. If he does well and we end up cutting/trading Ponder and/or Cassel, then what? Ink him to a long-term and ignore possibly one of the strongest draft classes for a QB? Let him go and hope whoever we don't get rid of can groom a rookie QB?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

I wish him the best. Like several of you, I think Schiano is the root of a lot of Freeman's problems. An honorable, talented coach may get a lot more out of him. I hope he lights it up just to embarrass Schiano. He has NO business coaching in the NFL. 

muser
muser

I'm hopeful that he lights it up in Minny, just to give Tampa more reason to fire Schiano...

KevinTrammell
KevinTrammell

Freem isn't a headcase at all . Schiano is a shitbag coach that screwed freeman over ever since he came from rutgers . Only drug condition freeman has was he switched from adderall to ritalin and didn't change his paperwork and it caused him to fail a drug test. He will be great for you guys I'm a huge tampa fan til this asscoach took over now screw tampa .....sorry bitter with these shitbag coaches here....

Not Tom Brady
Not Tom Brady

Freeman's stats under the Raheem Morris regime were actually pretty good.  It was only after Schiano took over that his completion % began to suffer.  It'll be interesting to see if he can recapture some success in Minnesota.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

"Three's Company?"  QB crowded in MIN (Freeman / Cassel / Ponder) but choice is good, especially when all three have ???.  Whomever gets final nod moving forward (into '14), he best pan out or Leslie could bear brunt of blame and be sent packing. 

Victor_Newman
Victor_Newman

ponder is a disaster. if i had a wife as hot as samantha, i would not be wasting everyone's time on sunday.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

IF they think he is the answer, good luck Peterson.  Gues his "medical" condition isn't as bad as he said it is

j7apple
j7apple

If he was a head case in Tampa he will be one in Minnesota. 

Phil22
Phil22

Honestly it's not that bad of a move. If he plays well then the Vikings sign him for multiple years. If he stinks it up, no loss next year. Vikings are going to draft a QB next year anyway, so why not give Freeman a shot?

SanityClause
SanityClause

Good landing spot. Quite a bit of talent in Minnesota and a chance to start almost immediately. No reason that Freeman can't succeed there.


ChinggisKhaan
ChinggisKhaan

Makes a lot of sense.  In addition to 2 mediocre quarterbacks with good attitudes, they'll now have a mediocre quarterback with a bad attitude.  

HAKEEM
HAKEEM

Schiano is a scumbag for releasing this guys private medical information. That type of coach should never be in the NFL. He lacks character and or trust.

Kalzy
Kalzy

@KevinTrammell  Sorry for your loss, As A vikes fan, I hope he pans out. Good luck in Tampa.

Azeron
Azeron

@j7apple No way.  Frazier is a player's coach like Morris but Frazier wasn't thrust into the head coaching position too early as Morris was.  Look at Schiano's first move as Bucs coach...cut Kellen Winslow for not being a Schiano guy.  Schiano is scum.

riley8
riley8

@SanityClause One HUGE reason he will not succeed is that he just isn't very good.  Blame the coach in TB all you want, but he doesn't play QB.  (neither does Freeman)

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@HAKEEM I agree with you that Schiano doesn't belong in the NFL. If it comes out that he was the source of the release, I believe he will be punished for it. However, Freeman has issues on and off the field and which is why I believe he isn't throwing the ball for the bucs anymore. Unfortunately I'm a season ticket holder to Tampa and the entire offense is also a problem. Freeman is gone and Schiano is next. 

eggishorn
eggishorn

@Voiceover310 @HAKEEM Except the only source of information about these off the field issues was a coach and organization that was obviously scapegoating their faults onto Freeman.  I don't think that we really can say we know anything about Josh Freeman the person.  

Remember how much of a "head case" Corey Dillon was supposed to have been at Cinncinnati?