- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback play:
Rewind: Josh Freeman's first start with the Vikings looked sloppy from the early stages of Monday night's loss to the New York Giants; Freeman finished the night completing just 20 of his 53 passes, floating an interception over the middle to kill a Vikings scoring drive and overthrowing his receivers on 16 of his 33 incompletions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Just two weeks after he signed with the team, Freeman could rightly point to a lack of experience with his receivers on some of the mistakes, but there were other times when he simply wasn't able to put the ball on target.
Fast-forward: Assuming Freeman starts on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, he might have to trade scores with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and he'll have to do it against a defense that appears vastly improved from what the Packers have had the last two years. Green Bay has allowed the ninth-most passing yards in the league, but is third in the league against the run and is tied for seventh in the league with 20 sacks. Teams that have been able to stop Adrian Peterson and pressure the quarterback have had plenty of success against the Vikings, and Green Bay might have that formula working on Sunday.
Help from Jennings? Wide receiver Greg Jennings had just four catches for 41 yards in the Vikings' loss on Monday, but it stands to reason he'll be looking for a big game against his former team this week. Freeman and Jennings looked out of sync at times on Monday night, but Jennings obviously knows the Packers' defense as well as anyone after practicing against it for seven years. Green Bay can throw a number of different looks at Freeman with its 3-4 defense, so letting Jennings find holes in the Packers' coverage might be useful for Freeman.
Prediction: Freeman is better in his second start (and first at home), throwing for around 240 yards and a touchdown, but he'll also commit a turnover or two against a defense that's so far had trouble getting back to its typical ballhawking ways.