Of all the things that don’t make sense, giving Josh Freeman, on his first start for the Minnesota Vikings, to throw the ball 53 times while there’s someone called Adrian Peterson in the backfield defies any kind of logic that’s based on the assumption that you play to win games and not prove a point.
In the 23-7 loss to the New York Giants, a win-less team before the game, Freeman completed only 37.7% of his passes, as it looked like someone was trying to prove a point about quarterbacks and the importance of them. Whatever the reason was – trying to get him some confidence or trying to establish the passing game that’s been absent all season long, it didn’t work, with the Vikings producing only 206 yards of total offense.
Adrian Peterson? After a historic, MVP season last year, this one is a humbling experience. About playing on an awful team, with bad calls by the head coach, in a season that’s going nowhere, being the only team in the division with a sub .500 record. Peterson ran only 13 times with the ball. He did badly with 28 yards on those carries, but it’s impossible to think that despite having the best backfield weapon in the NFL, the Vikings preferred to go with a quarterback that hasn’t played in three weeks and isn’t really accustomed to the system he’s throwing in.
Freeman overthrew 16 of his passes. There was pressure coming from the Giants almost on every snap, but to do that badly does require some special skills. Freeman is leading the NFL in overthrown passes this season, but it seems like it’s too late for the Vikings to continue this quarterback carousel this season. No matter what their remaining goals are, sticking it with Freeman should be the decision.
It was tough sledding. We couldn’t get anything established up front. I was focused on preparing for the game; unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we wanted to. It was tough. The defense made it hard.
The Vikings need to hope that this was only rust, and not simply an indication of where Freeman has fallen off to in his roller coaster career, which has reached a point that might deny him from starting from anyone ever again after four and a bit seasons in Tampa Bay, ending with him being kicked off the team. They also need to hope his eyesight is fine after saying that a lot of the plays were just a hair off.
It’s normal to try and bring a quarterback up to speed as quickly as possible, but deviating from the best offensive weapon you have so drastically, even when things don’t work too well early on, is simply denying your team the best chance it had to win a game for only the second time this season. Josh Freeman hasn’t shown this season that he’s good enough to carry that kind of load and pressure without some help from the backfield, and the Minnesota Vikings better not repeat their balance between pass and rush if they want a few more happy moments in this dreary season.