Josh Freeman Released By Buccaneers. Viking Fans Want Him.

December 23, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) reacts against the St. Louis Rams during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The expected has happened with Josh Freeman: Today the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut ties with their former would-be franchise quarterback after failing to find a trade partner. As a vested veteran Freeman is not required to go through waivers and may sign with any team.

Surely a player of Freeman’s talent will draw interest from multiple teams. But will the Vikings be one of those teams? A better question: SHOULD the Vikings be one of those teams?

That subject was brought up Wednesday by Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com, sort of as a nice juicy piece of red meat for fans. But now that Freeman is actually on the market, the idle bye week speculation has ramped up into all-out heated name-calling debate. Just after spending a few hours on Twitter, it seems to me that a lot of fans are coming down on the side of signing Freeman. These seem to be the main arguments in favor of picking up Freeman:

1. Christian Ponder stinks.

2. Josh Freeman had one good year once.

3. Matt Cassel had one good year once too but he isn’t as good as Josh Freeman.

4. Christian Ponder stinks.

5. If Freeman can fix whatever has made him not be very good since that one good year he had, he would be better than Ponder or Cassel. Never mind the fact that Bill Musgrave is apparently not that good at helping QBs.

6. Christian Ponder stinks.

And now a quick rebuttal by those of us who are not entirely convinced that it makes any sense to sign Josh Freeman at this time.

1. Josh Freeman clashed with his coaches in a way that is very reminiscent of what happened with Percy Harvin. Freeman’s issues created tremendous headaches for everyone and Freeman, like Harvin, was ultimately dumped. Do we really need to bring in another malcontent trouble-making d-bag, especially when our locker room already looks like it’s ready to implode? And I know what you’re thinking: It wasn’t Freeman, it was Greg Schiano. Or maybe Freeman and Schiano were BOTH jerks.

2. Josh Freeman really isn’t that much better than Ponder or Cassel overall. He had that one good year.

3. I’m not certain the Vikings are very good at handling quarterbacks. So why would they handle Freeman any better than they handled Ponder? Freeman clearly needs some work. I’m not sure this coaching staff is the one to get him back to where he needs to be.

4. If you’re trying to turn the season around, is it really going to help to bring in a guy who doesn’t know your offense at all?

5. One of the big knocks on Ponder has been lack of leadership. Is Josh Freeman a guy with a great reputation for leadership?

6. I thought all us fans were sick of picking up other people’s cast-off quarterbacks?

7. Didn’t Cassel play pretty well the last game? Yes I know he’s inconsistent, but is Josh Freeman himself the picture of consistency?

8. Didn’t Ponder show some nice flashes in the Chicago and Cleveland games? Didn’t he bounce back well after that terrible pick against the Bears? Wasn’t he starting to get it a little bit more before his injury? We’ve invested all this time in him, not to mention that draft pick, and we’re just supposed to toss all that out the window because some guy comes along who had a good year a few years ago?

That’s all I’ve got on why I don’t like the idea of signing Freeman. The whole “you’ve got nothing to lose” thing doesn’t fly with me. You’ve got a starter who has shown flashes of improvement and is now injured and you have a capable backup. Signing Josh Freeman is going to get you into the Super Bowl this year? Josh Freeman is a better long-term answer than Christian Ponder? Or do people hate Ponder so much that they just want to get rid of him any way they can?

Things to think about during our boring bye week.

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  • Anthony DuLac

    No, Ponder really didn’t show any good “flashes” of anything, anywhere so far this season. He’s still the same flop as he’s been since being drafted (unfortunately – he seems like a great guy otherwise, but he’s just not a very good QB by any means). I say maybe it’s worth nabbing Freeman, just in case.

    • Bob E.

      That “Just in case” will run a lot of money for a guy who is completing less the 50%of his passes… If you want a guy who had 1 good season a few years ago, we might as well go with Cassel and save the possible Percy Harvin like Diva-Drama.

      • Kyle Belland

        Freeman’s OC is behind the times when it comes to offensive schemes. Arif Hasan wrote a great article about how Freeman’s throws have been mainly deep jump balls outside the numbers and that’s why his completion percentage is down. If he had a West Coast offense where he has to make perfectly timed and high percentage throws, I think you’d see his completion percentage be closer to 60-65%.

        • Daniel Laxen

          That’s speculation for sure. Of course the way the Vikings dink and dunk would surely upgrade those numbers, but 65% is pretty high for anyone!

          • Kyle Belland

            I did give a range of 60-65% as, I believe, the league average is somewhere around 62% or so. Musgrave doesn’t call a lot of deep shots down the field where Arif had actually pointed out that he’s completing a higher percentage of deep balls thrown in his old system. Whereas he would be throwing more high percentage throws on short digs, slants and out routes versus go routes and deep digs. Freeman, if given the chance to learn the offense, could succeed in this offense and we would no longer be one dimensional as we are with Ponder behind center.

          • Daniel Laxen

            After watching Ponder I wonder if we even have 1 dimension?

  • KevVc1

    There is no way you should burn salary cap money on a guy who has the “possibility” of being “marginally” better than what we have now. Its one thing to pick up a free agent in the off season (ie Manning) in the atempt to try and win it in the next two years but to grab a guy who was such a mess the last few years thhis team drops him in the middle of the season is another story. Does anyone really believe he would put teh Vikes over the hump and win a superbowl? If not then you might as well finish the season with who you have now.Either they figure it out or they dont and we go after another quarterback in the draft, which has by most accounts some good quarterback talent.

    • Daniel Laxen

      If the Vikings don’t have to pay his full salary then I say sign him and cut MBT. Both QBs have had injury issues in the past! I do understand your stance here, though.

      • KevVc1

        Two things. One, apparently I can’t type worth a crap, Two, I would still be hesitant to bring in a guy who appears to be a prima dona and a distraction to be our third string quarterback. Even if we dont have to pay the salary he has been earning now. Besides, if he were to come into Minnesota and not start right away he wont stay beyond this year anyway so whats the point?

        • Daniel Laxen

          QBs that get injured need a replacement that gives you a chance to win. MBT doesn’t do that! Remember last year when the Vikings stayed with Ponder? Had they ran the same type of offense the 49ers did maybe Webb looks better than he did in that playoff game. The 1st drive looked pretty good then they went away from it?

  • Daniel Laxen

    1st of all Dan says something stupid, AGAIN, like this…” especially when our locker room already looks like it’s ready to implode?” His words…Really? What gives you any inkling that this locker room is ready to implode, Dan Zinski? The only way this happens is if, and it’s a big IF, the team believes that Cassel gives the Vikings the best opportunity to win and Frazier just toes the company line on Ponder. The way it looks now is that Ponder will be out for the next few weeks and Cassel will either fish or cut bait.

    Should this team go on a run, like I predict it will, now that the QB position has someone that CAN operate the system designed around AP. Should this team get it to the .500 mark by Thanksgiving, they again will be able to make the playoff push. They did it last year with a QB that was often times incapable of making the defense play the pass honestly. Cassel will be better and may well make this team dangerous in the playoffs. Anytime you have a player like AP and WRs capable of HUGE plays you stand a puncher’s chance at earning a victory.

    Now that my HOMER rant is over, understand that the defense needs to make a large leap. I don’t feel they are really that far away. Should the pressure get home on a regular basis, the secondary will be better, not having to hold coverage for 4-5 seconds. I’m still hoping the Vikings re-sign Antoine Winfield to play nickel for the Vikings. Another year for Robinson behind Antoine would greatly benefit him, in my opinion.
    Anthony DuLac hit it on the head on Zinski’s comment about Christian Ponder. Ponder has not shown ANY good flashes this season. His red zone numbers are dreadful and by running he shows exactly how unsure he is of his chances to complete passes down there. This with a talent like Rudolph that is open even when he doesn’t appear to be. This isn’t Florida State and NFL receivers are open if you can deliver the ball on time and accurately. Ponder rarely does either!

    As for Freeman, cut MBT and bring him in. They signed Cassel to push Ponder. Maybe they should sign Freeman to push Cassel. Either way signing him might prove valuable. Both of these QBs have had injuries in the past and after looking at MBT’s horrible College resume’ there is really no discussion on why he’s even on this team. I dare you to look up his career as a 3rd string QB at UCLA playing because of injury and then at Sacramento as a back up there also…Trust me, he isn’t all that!

  • Mike Bridges

    Fans like Anthony hate Ponder so much that even when he makes some good throws they go unnoticed. He did have some nice throws that took some pinpoint accuracy to make em. The QB issue with the Vikings isn’t even the issue. The big problem is the Defense. At times it ‘s Defensive play calling. When Williams sends pressure, the Defense plays well but, way too often he puts them in a prevent mode and opposing QB’s embarrass them. The Offense scored 34 points on a good Steeler Defense and the Defense had only allowed 17 going into the 4th quarter. Williams decided the best way to protect that lead was to get soft. Ben R. abused the DB’s and when the Defense got to him, the poor tackling allowed him to get away and make a throw. The Steelers scored 10 more to draw within 7 and were driving down the field with time running out. They were on the Viking 6 on 3rd Down when Williams had a great thought and sent a ton of pressure on Ben. Of course he fumbled…in part maybe to the dislocated finger he got in the 4th Q….and with around 8 seconds left the Defense recovered the ball. The Vikings’ Offense looked very good with big plays that scored TD’s and even long drives that ended in scores. Jennings made 2 brilliant TD receptions and Simpson was making great grabs that extended drives. They focused on AD and even then it’s hard to keep him shutdown! 34 points is more than enough to win and yet, it almost wasn’t, cuz of poor Defensive play calling and soft pass coverage! The Vikings need a new, brave, smart DC and if that Defense can be allowed to Blitz more, at the very least, they and the team will be better off. Stop blaming everything on the QB’s!