Josh Freeman has picked a team. And it's a team that has had some trouble at quarterback.
The Minnesota Vikings, who have had more success in recent years signing and trading for quarterbacks than drafting them, have signed the free-agent Freeman to a one-year contract, as first reported by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
Freeman picked the Vikings over the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders — who were playing the San Diego Chargers when the news broke.
Deal for Freeman from Vikings worth $3 million, per source.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 7, 2013
Prior to the signing, the Vikings only were about $2.5 million under the salary cap. It's not clear what the corresponding roster move will be, or whether the team was able to restructure a contract or two to fit Freeman on the roster.
The deal sets up an interesting situation for the Vikings. They have Christian Ponder, who is the starter in name, coming off a rib injury that kept him out of the London victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that win, replacement Matt Cassel took over and rallied the team. Is Ponder out of the picture? Not yet, but it certainly fires a shot across his bow — and it might not be long before Freeman gets the chance to start.
Freeman is a Kansas City-area native, and sources close to Freeman told Shutdown Corner that he's likely to be more comfortable in the Midwest than in Tampa, where he spent his first five pro seasons until now. Of course, Freeman and the Buccaneers were the focus of a bizarre and personal war, in which the quarterback missed team obligations and the team released him after poorly handling the situation, eating his entire salary in the process. A fresh start could help Freeman, but it also could make things awkward for Ponder.
Vikings wanted him for a 2 year deal but josh wanted 1. It's on Ponder to play his butt off to keep his job. — Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 7, 2013
This way, if Freeman does well, he could be set up to make good money on the open market. And either way, Ponder might be out of the picture with the Vikings at some point. Fascinating stat of the day: Ponder is a mere six weeks younger than Freeman, despite being in the league two years fewer.