Monday, March 10, 2014
Vikings: On Josh Freeman's next move
By Ben Goessling
MINNEAPOLIS -- The last time Josh Freeman was on the open market, faced with a handful of destinations where he could reboot his career, he chose the Minnesota Vikings over several other interested teams that might have presented him a chance to play.
Freeman took a one-year, $2 million deal from the Vikings in a decision that worked out horribly, leading to one now-infamous flop on "Monday Night Football" and two months on the Vikings' bench. Christian Ponder took back the starting job and Minnesota ultimately ended its open audition for 25-year-old quarterbacks, giving the job to 31-year-old Matt Cassel at the end of the season.
Now, Freeman is about to hit free agency once again, and as ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha writes, he has to make sure he gets the choice right.
As much baggage as Freeman has acquired in the past six months -- from his feud with Greg Schiano on the way out of Tampa Bay to allegations he was lazy and unprepared in Minnesota -- he is still likely to get a shot to play because he A) is young, B) is the owner of a big arm and C) has a 4,000-yard season on his résumé. That Freeman could get another chance has as much to do with the state of quarterbacking in the NFL as it does with anything he has done recently, but if Freeman can land in the right situation, it's possible he could get his career headed in the right direction again.
It was tough to assess Freeman's time in Minnesota fairly, simply because he was thrown into such an odd situation by a Vikings organization that was searching for any sense of stability at quarterback. If Freeman had given that to the Vikings, it's likely he would have a new contract with the team by now; Cassel got a two-year deal simply through a handful of serviceable games and one prolific one (against Philadelphia) at the end of the season.
The Vikings apparently saw enough to determine Freeman wasn't their guy, but his time in Minnesota probably shouldn't be a permanent black mark on his record.
Sometime in the next week or two, Freeman will likely land with another team, ending his brief and bizarre relationship with the Vikings. It will be interesting to see if his next reboot works better than his last one.