The only surprise about the news that quarterback Josh Freeman will start for the Vikings is that it comes two weeks after he was signed. On Wednesday, coach Leslie Frazier said he anticipates Freeman will be under center Monday night when the Vikings face the Giants.
The biggest concern was whether Freeman would know enough of the playbook to be effective. Apparently, that hasn't been a problem.
Frazier said Freeman has spent a lot of time digesting offense. Coaches were impressed with way he ran scout team post practice last Wed.— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) October 16, 2013
Freeman took the first-team reps during Wednesday's practice, and afterwards said there was no question he'd be prepared by Monday. He also offered some thoughts on his new situation as it compared to his previous one.
Freeman also emphasized the #Vikings org has people committed to being "quality human beings" and "they do things the right way around here"— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 16, 2013
Meanwhile, Frazier named Christian Ponder the backup. According to the Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Ponder was asked if he'd welcome a trade.
"I don't know," the third-year quarterback said, which differs from the answer he gave last week.
“I would be lying if I didn't say it's a little disappointing and frustrating,” Ponder said last Friday when asked about the team signing Freeman. “But I'm not going to get too discouraged about it. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what the next few weeks, few months hold. We'll see how everything plays out.”
Freeman, a 2009 first-round pick of the Buccaneers, was released earlier this month by Tampa Bay, shortly after he was benched for rookie third-rounder Mike Glennon. Now he'll have a chance to rejuvenate his career in Minnesota, which signed him to a one-year deal.
Matt Cassel had started the last two Vikings' games. The first was because Christian Ponder was sidelined with a rib injury, but last week, Ponder was a healthy scratch. And now both will be on the sidelines come Monday night.
Taking the long view, if Freeman plays well during his 10-week audition he could be re-signed in the offseason. This would simultaneously signal an end to the Christian Ponder era, two-plus years after the Vikings drafted him 12th overall.