COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Vikings quarterback controversy appeared to be settled--at least for a few more weeks--with reports that Christian Ponder's rib injury is more serious than originally believed and he could now miss another three to four games. That should give Matt Cassel enough time to show if he is one who should lead the Vikings in the future.
But just when it looked as though the drama was going to end, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Josh Freeman on Thursday. The Vikings were reportedly interested in Freeman just over a week ago and can now sign him for practically nothing, with Tampa Bay absorbing the remaining money he is owed on his current contract.
There's no reason the Vikings shouldn't go after Freeman and the sooner the better. Going into a game with McLeod Bethel-Thompson as your backup quarterback is not really an ideal situation and is reminiscent of Joe Webb being forced into action against Green Bay in the playoffs last season. Signing Freeman over the weekend would give him a week to learn the playbook before the Vikings host Carolina on Oct. 13.
Freeman is just six weeks older than Ponder and has already done things that Ponder or Cassel are unlikely to ever do in the NFL. He threw for the more than 4,000 yards last year and did so without an Adrian Peterson in the backfield or a Greg Jennings as a wide receiver. He has never played with the type of offensive weapons that the Vikings posses and opposing defenses would have to respect his ability to throw the long ball, making Peterson that much more dangerous.
Signing Freeman would not change the Vikings' long-range plans one bit. If one of the quarterbacks doesn't step up over the final three-fourths of the season, Minnesota can target a Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Tajh Boyd or possibly even a Johnny Manziel in the draft. The Vikings could also use the money currently being paid to Jared Allen to try and lure a Philip Rivers away from San Diego.
Signing Freeman would require the Vikings to part ways with one player currently on the roster, most likely one of its eight linebackers. There are several likely candidates who the Vikings would not miss in the slightest.
The addition of Freeman would bring more competition to the quarterback position and that's never a bad thing. It's a low-risk move that has the potential to pay big dividends in the future.
Allen Moody is an author and sports bettor living in Nevada. A newspaper sports reporter for 12 years, he has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the 1970s.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Josh Freeman
- Christian Ponder
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers