Sunday, November 17, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: Minnesota Vikings
By Ben Goessling
SEATTLE -- Observed in the locker room following the Minnesota Vikings' 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:
QB carousel could spin again: Coach Leslie Frazier again was noncommittal on the Vikings' starting quarterback for next Sunday's game in Green Bay, offering the familiar response that he would get together with his coaches this week and make a decision. But after Christian Ponder threw for just 15 yards in the second half and was intercepted twice (including once for a touchdown), the Vikings could decide to start Josh Freeman for the second time this season, or give Matt Cassel another look after he relieved Ponder. Cassel threw an interception, as well, and Freeman's one game this season was an ugly 20-for-53 performance against the New York Giants, but with the Vikings now at 2-8, Frazier might decide it's time to look at Freeman. "It's four weeks (since the Giants game) to learn, digest stuff that you had a week (to learn) the first go-around," said Freeman, who signed with the Vikings on Oct. 7. "But I'm just working, trying to help my understanding of everything, how we do it, how everything's called, why it's called, what it's called, and continue to grow in this offense." Freeman said he had a hunch throughout the week he would be inactive, but didn't find out for sure until he didn't see pads in his locker on Sunday.
Achilles injury keeps Jennings down: Wide receiver Greg Jennings was listed as probable for Sunday's game with a strained left Achilles tendon, and when coach Leslie Frazier was asked on Friday if there would be any issues with Jennings' heel, he said, "No. He'll be ready to go." But Jennings woke up Sunday morning feeling like he wasn't going to be able to play, and he was deactivated for the game. "We went out early and ran around," Jennings said. "It didn't feel good enough to play and put out a great performance. I wasn't going to put myself or my team in that position." Jennings wasn't sure what caused the injury, saying he woke up with it on Thursday morning and calling it "the flukiest thing," but said he plans to be back for his return trip to Lambeau Field next week.
Harvin returns with a bang -- and a jab: Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin only played a limited role in his return to the field, but he made an impact against his former team after coming back from hip surgery. Harvin tipped his first catch to himself for a spectacular 17-yard gain, and once kick returner Jermaine Kearse went down, Harvin got his wish to return to his role as a return man. He brought his first kickoff back 58 yards, and the Vikings didn't kick to him again. And after the game, Harvin took a bit of a jab at the Vikings' offense when asked to compare it to Seattle's. "It's the complete opposite," Harvin said of the Seahawks' scheme. "It allows you to stretch the field." Considering Harvin had dropped hints he was unhappy with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's scheme during his time in Minnesota, it wasn't surprising to hear him say it on Sunday, but the remark was more frontal than his previous criticisms of his old team.
Simpson has one catch after sitting early: Wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who was arrested on Nov. 9 for drunken driving, did not start for the Vikings on Sunday, even with Jennings out. He served as the Vikings' fourth receiver for much of the day, with Joe Webb often seeing time ahead of Simpson in the Vikings' three-receiver sets, but Jennings' absence forced the Vikings to use Simpson in different parts of the game. Asked if he would have used Simpson less had Jennings been healthy, Frazier said, "There's no sense in me talking about that now. The decision was made. Simpson was out there on the second play. Circumstances dictated this is what we had to do." Simpson finished with one catch for one yard.