I am just going to come out and say it. If Josh Freeman can wrestle the starting job from Christian Ponder (or Matt Cassel) this season or next for the Minnesota Vikings, I think they will be a playoff contender - if not more.
Bold, but not totally off the wall. I have been a fan of Freeman’s since he was drafted out of Kansas State and still think there is plenty in the tank for this kid to make a huge impression on the Vikings, the fans and the NFL.
And if you are counting at home and revenge is your drink of choice, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For whatever the reasons, Freeman is a Viking, the NFL will deal with Minnesota as they get better, and the NFC North just got another gunslinger it has to deal with.
Here are five reasons the Vikings were the right fit for Freeman.
There is something about him that just makes football better in Minnesota. When he was first hired and when though the growing pains of being a first-time NFL head coach, I did not think he would be able to survive the cut and would immediately be off the sidelines as quickly as he was on.
Frazier is a “players coach” who allows them to patrol themselves and develop while he gives them enough guidance along the way. He has helped other players grow as a coordinator and as the head coach and now he can do the same thing with Freeman.
This is not Tampa Bay, this is not Greg Schiano
You could tell this was going to end badly. Schiano and Freeman were like oil and vinegar. Both sides came out smelling bad - most of which I blame on the Buccaneers and its management. Schiano tried to run a militant ship and has rubbed some of the players the wrong way. Tampa Bay and its management was too quick to air dirty laundry and made it next to near impossible to stay in a city that is crying for a franchise passer.
Schiano also said from the start he thought this was an open competition, and that he thought rookie Mike Glennon could start for the Bucs.
The writing was on the wall.
A fresh start
Every once in a while, a fresh start is exactly what a player needs. Marcus Allen, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, and Alex Smith are prime examples.
The Vikings are hoping Freeman can be Alex Smith. We have seen what a move can do for a player and what a new team with goals and a philosophy can do for a player.
Freeman is a tall, big-armed player who will lead by example if he is successful. As he told USAToday.com, “one of the reasons he chose the Vikings over other possible destinations is because the presence of starter Christian Ponder will allow him to "pump the brakes" after a wild final few weeks in Tampa Bay that included his demotion, reports of his inclusion in the NFL's drug program and his eventual release last Thursday.”
A change will do you good.
Nice set of receivers
The fact Freeman comes to the NFC North, has a new playbook and Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson to throw to is pretty sweet. Also, the fact he has a great security blanket in Kyle Rudolph should make him very happy.
Freeman had decent receivers in Tampa Bay, but nothing that would set the world on fire. I am not saying these receivers will be world beaters, but it is better than what he has worked with in the past.
The best thing about coming to Minnesota other than the mall.
When you come to a town and have good receivers, a growing offensive line, great coaches and the best running back in the NFL, it has to make you smile.
There is nothing more to say. He is Adrian Peterson.