COMMENTARY | Even though he now has a full-blown quarterbacking controversy on his team, life just got a bit easier for Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. The signing of quarterback Josh Freeman to a one-year contract Sunday evening signifies that the team is interested in winning right now.
The Vikings have two very winnable games on tap, beginning with this Sunday's home game against Carolina, followed by a trip to the MetLife Stadium to face the winless New York Giants. The Vikings then begin a brutal seven-week stretch that will see the team play Green Bay twice, along with Chicago, Seattle and Baltimore.
Freeman will be up to speed on the Vikings offense in several weeks and should be ready to play when the Packers visit Mall of America Field on Oct. 27, if not sooner. For Frazier, that means he will have to make a decision on who his starting quarterback will be.
Decision-making is not a strong point of Frazier's, as evidenced by his constant waffling on naming a starter against Carolina. He is the type of person who could spend hours in a buffet trying to figure out what to eat.
The fact that the Vikings are willing to pay Freeman $3 million for the final 12 games of the season is an indication that management expects him to play in 2013. Freeman knows that, as do incumbents Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. The chances are pretty good that Frazier understands that as well.
The addition of Freeman also allows Frazier to escape the corner he was trapped in after Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings publicly endorsed Cassel as starting quarterback. Peterson and Jennings both know that Freeman is the most talented quarterback on the team. Cassel knows that as well.
Cassel had the option of signing with Minnesota or Tampa Bay this offseason and chose the Vikings. It's not a stretch to conclude that one reason was he believed it would be easier to beat out Ponder than it would be to beat out Freeman for the starting position.
Playing Freeman puts Frazier in a no-lose situation. If the Vikings win, Frazier is likely to get a new contract. If the team losses, Frazier was simply following the mandate from above and playing the new quarterback, which could also be enough to get himself a new deal for another season.
The signing of Freeman is good news for Frazier in more ways than one. Not only does he have a better quarterback on his team, he has to feel a little better about his future job security today than he did a few days ago.
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.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Josh Freeman
- Minnesota Vikings
- Leslie Frazier
- Matt Cassel