Report: Players surprised Frazier pushed Freeman as Vikings starter

By Ryan Wilson |

In retrospect, Josh Freeman wasn't ready to start in Week 7. (USATSI)
Josh Freeman played in just one game with the Vikings, a Week 7 start against the Giants in which he looked wholly unprepared, most likely because he was. Freeman had signed with Minnesota less than two weeks before, and despite coach Leslie Frazier's best efforts to convince his team that Freeman was ready, he clearly was not.

"You could tell Josh did not know the offense," one Vikings player told's Tom Pelissero. "Practices did not really go that well that week. But Coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, 'Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we've had all year.' And everyone's like, what? What are you talking about?"

Freeman completed 20-of-53 passes in the 23-7 loss to the Giants, for 190 yards and an interception. He spent the next 10 weeks on the sidelines watching either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel play quarterback.

According to Pelissero, some players felt Frazier turned to Freeman out of desperation after the Vikings started the season 1-4.

"Debacle," a second Vikings player told Pelissaro regarding the quarterback situation. "When they started Josh in that Giants game, we were as confused as anybody."

Meanwhile, Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman, who drafted Ponder 12th overall in 2011 and signed Cassel in the offseason, concedes that the quarterback position remains in flux.

"I haven't got it right yet," Spielman said. "We've worked as hard as we could to try to get that right."

It explains why the team took a gamble on Freeman. But four people with knowledge of the situation told Pelissero that Freeman was late to numerous meetings in his three months with the Vikings, and the quarterback was often among the last people to show up at the facility.

But one of Freeman's agents said "anything about meetings or missing anything is false," and the only problem was that Freeman played too soon.

Wherever the truth lies, Freeman's future remains uncertain. The Vikings, meanwhile, have fired Frazier and will almost certainly be in the market for their next franchise quarterback in the coming months.

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