- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Nearly every question Josh Freeman has answered from reporters in November has been about why he isn't starting, whether he expected more playing time on Oct. 7 or whether he is upset about the circumstances that have put him back on the bench for five weeks after the Minnesota Vikings hurried him into action Oct. 21.
Freeman has been deferential and respectful in his answers. But Wednesday's session, which came four hours after coach Leslie Frazier named Christian Ponder the starter for a fifth straight game, brought a little more befuddlement from the assembled media trying to figure out why the Vikings haven't used Freeman again. And in return, Freeman sounded like a quarterback who's given up trying to discern where he stands in the pecking order.
Did Freeman think he'd have a chance to start this week, after Ponder was benched in a 41-20 loss Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks? "Coach said we're going to make Christian the starter this week. It's not our job to say anything about that other than, 'Here we go Christian!' Let's try to get Christian as ready as he can be for Sunday."
Was playing time a major factor in why Freeman chose a $2 million deal from the Vikings over other offers he had last month? "It factored a little bit, but it was really, I wanted to come and be part of a great organization. I had a few options, but at the same time I felt like Minnesota was the best-run organization."
Does he have any regrets about the decision? "Nah, man. I just kind of go. I go for life. There's not really anything that I look back on that I say, 'Man, I wish I would've done this.' Not everything's going to work out for you, but at the same time you can't go your life just second-guessing everything you do."
And my personal favorite: Asked to play GM, does Freeman think one of the Vikings' current quarterbacks can prevent them from picking one in what's expected to be a deep QB draft next May? "I really have no idea from that standpoint. I really haven't thought that far ahead. I've got a deal this year, and I'm going to make the most of that before pursuing other venues. Like I said, my focus is right on today. It's going in and watching this practice tape and trying to get better from it. That's where we're at, man. I think it's awesome, though. You guys probably have a lot of great theories. I gave up on that. I'm just working, man. It's been great. I'm just focusing on ball. I had a chance to really -- there's no distractions, no anything. You just get to sit, focus. I get my Beats [headphones] bumping in the QB room, just sitting there, just jamming, watch tape and take notes. It's great. It's great."
What do we make of this? My guess is, after his rift with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and his split with his old team, Freeman is both refreshed to be in a more stable environment and careful not to rock the boat. If he's not going to play, he'd only hurt his free-agent stock by complaining about it. But he might also be as confused as some of you are (and as I am) about how the Vikings have handled the situation. They've said they don't need to see Freeman play to evaluate him, but when Frazier continues to say Ponder gives the Vikings the best chance to win, even after he was pulled from Sunday's game, the tacit implication is that Freeman isn't up to par with everything the team is doing. The performance standard hasn't been terribly high, so either Freeman hasn't been able to clear it, the Vikings are still nervous about putting him back out there or some other factor is at play for why he isn't starting.
Maybe it's best to do as Freeman's doing, slip on your Beats by Dre headphones and try to make the best of the situation. That certainly couldn't be more difficult than trying to make sense of it.