EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Josh Freeman still isn't sure exactly which third-quarter hit caused his first NFL concussion on Monday night, and he didn't say whether he will return to the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback role next week. But when his next opportunity does come, Freeman believes he'll be better than he was during an erratic performance in his Vikings debut.
Freeman was cleared to practice on Friday, and coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings plan to return him to full practice next week. He will be inactive on Sunday, with Christian Ponder starting at quarterback and Matt Cassel backing up Ponder against the Green Bay Packers, but the Vikings' plan for their quarterbacks after that remains unknown.
It seems likely Freeman will get another chance to play after signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Vikings on Oct. 7, though Ponder might complicate matters if he plays well on Sunday.
Against the New York Giants on Monday, Freeman went 20-of-53 for 190 yards and an interception, becoming the second quarterback since 1960 to attempt 50 or more passes and not throw for at least 200 yards in a game. Also, he overthrew receivers on 16 of his 33 incompletions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Freeman said he felt prepared enough for the game, but he thought some of his inaccuracy was caused by nerves.
"Looking back, maybe I was a little too fired up at first," he said. "There's definitely a lot of correctable things, things that going into the game I would've banked on me being able to complete or get done on the field, but at the same time we weren't able to do so, so I'm moving forward and just got to find a way to be better prepared."
Frazier said this week he saw some mechanical issues in some of Freeman's throws, but Freeman thought some of the problems would go away as he gets more comfortable in the Vikings' offense.
"I think with any quarterback, there's a lot of times where read one, read two, step out of the pocket, moving, there's just that comfort level when you know where you're going with the ball and you're comfortable stepping up in the pocket and getting your feet set," Freeman said. "Then accuracy goes way up. There were obviously some shots, looking back, I could hit in my sleep, but in the game they were maybe a little high. That made it hard on my guys."
The Vikings, Freeman said, have told him to "return at my own pace," and haven't discussed his role for next Sunday's game in Dallas.
"The entire organization's focus is on Sunday night," Freeman said. "It's going up against the Packers and finding a way to get a win. My role for the game, I've got to any way I can help Christian out there. He had an excellent week of practice. He's dropping dimes left and right. I know everybody is excited about moving forward."