Minnesota Vikings: 2013 Week 8 QB Watch NFC

QB Watch: Vikings' Freeman, Ponder

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback play:

Rewind: With Josh Freeman out because of a concussion he sustained the week before, Christian Ponder returned to the Vikings' starting role on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. But if the game represented Ponder's last chance to significantly shift the conversation about his future with the Vikings, he didn't exactly seize the opportunity. He completed 14 of his 21 passes for a tepid 145 yards, and though Ponder ran for a touchdown, that came long after the Packers had put the game out of reach. He was beset by many of the same flaws he had before he lost the starting job in September. Ponder often fled the pocket at the first sign of pressure, passed up possible completions into tight coverage and couldn't move the Vikings downfield. He attempted just one pass that traveled at least 20 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Freeman
Ponder
Ponder
Fast-forward: Freeman has been cleared to practice, and coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday that either Freeman or Ponder will start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings have seen just one game from Freeman, and it seems likely they will give him another shot to show what he can do with a little more time in the Vikings' offense, after he hit just 20 of his 53 passes on Oct. 21 against the New York Giants. Freeman pinned some of his inaccuracy on nerves, as well as a lack of time to get comfortable with his receivers, though his career completion percentage is less than 60 percent. Still, the Vikings acquired him for a reason, and will want to see how quickly he can run their offense productively after picking up the scheme.

Misfiring in Dallas: The only game of his career when Freeman had a worse completion percentage than his 37.8 rate in his Vikings debut was -- you guessed it -- in Dallas against the Cowboys last year while he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Freeman hit just 10 of his 28 passes that day, throwing for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice that day, though the Buccaneers recovered both fumbles. The Cowboys have the league's worst defense against the pass this season, but they've made up for all the yards they've given up by intercepting 11 passes, which is tied for the fourth-most in the league.

Prediction: Freeman gets the start and is better in his second start than his first, but still struggles against the Cowboys. He completes 21 of his 40 passes for 210 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions.

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