- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
With Josh Freeman's move to the Vikings becoming official Monday, media members descended on the team's facility to gauge players' reaction and parse what the Vikings' plan for the quarterback position might be. They were met by a club that still needs to figure out its plan for three quarterbacks -- Freeman, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel -- so frank and complete answers were in short supply (aren't they always in the NFL?).
Nevertheless, the Vikings' plan at quarterback looks clear, even if coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman are loathe to say it at this point, writes Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
"There is no upside for Frazier in admitting the obvious: That Freeman was brought in to be the starter, that Cassel should start on Sunday, and that Ponder’s career with the Vikings is nearing an end," Souhan writes.
The feeling here, as well, is that the Vikings brought Freeman in to start in fairly short order. Frazier acknowledged that Freeman was told he'd get a chance at playing time once he learned the offense, and Spielman echoed that statement, adding "we are going to get Josh Freeman ready to play."
Spielman has long said he has a three-year rule in evaluating quarterbacks, and this move would seem to suggest he's either drawn a conclusion before the end of Ponder's third season, or that process has been truncated by outside circumstances (like the Vikings' 1-3 record and Freeman's availability). He said on Monday night that Ponder's evaluation process can continue even with Freeman, since there are "12, hopefully more" games left in the season.
Unless the Vikings plan to alternate quarterbacks, the chances of getting a good look the rest of this season at both Freeman and Ponder doesn't compute. As Souhan writes, that's the reality, despite what the team is saying at the moment.
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
We looked at how Freeman could have ended up with the Vikings in 2009, and why redeeming his career might make Spielman look good even if Ponder doesn't work out.
Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com wonders if Freeman's exit from Tampa Bay was the product of a toxic environment, and raises an interesting question: What happens if Matt Cassel starts on Sunday and the Vikings keep winning?
The Vikings are "no longer wedded" to Ponder, which represents "a seismic shift" in the organization's thinking, according to Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tim Yotter of Viking Update breaks down the economics of the Vikings' three-quarterback puzzle.