Josh Freeman did limited work in practice Friday after passing the NFL’s concussion protocol tests, but he will be inactive for the Vikings game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Freeman is expected to resume full practice next week. It’s unclear, however, if he will return as the starting quarterback or if Christian Ponder will remain in that role.
“The entire organization’s focus is on Sunday night,” he said. “It’s going up against the Packers and finding a way to get a win. My role for the game, I’ve got to any way I can help Christian out there.”
Freeman suffered a concussion in the third quarter of his Vikings debut in a 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night. He said he’s not sure what play caused the concussion and didn’t experience any symptoms until Tuesday morning.
Freeman said this was his first concussion in five NFL seasons.
“I just learned this talking to the doctors, but oftentimes with concussions they don’t really start showing noticeable symptoms until hours later,” he said. “That was the case on Monday night and really Tuesday morning is when I got the full onslaught of symptoms. In the game, when you’re focused and locked in on your job, oftentimes the man concussed is the last to really truly notice anything is off.”
Former NFL player and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison reportedly made comments that raised speculation that Freeman might not have suffered a concussion. According to ProFootballTalk, Harrison told NBC Sports Radio that “I can’t say that I believe he has a concussion. I can’t say that I’m 100 percent sold on it. I’m not trying to doubt the seriousness of his injury if he has one, but it just seems like a convenient excuse to get out of a situation. That’s what it seems like.”
Freeman said he was not aware of those comments.
“As a competitor, the last thing you want to do is have a situation where you’re sitting out the following week due to being on the sideline most of the week in practice,” he said. “So my feeling toward that is all I can do is live my truth.”
Freeman completed only 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards with one interception and a 40.6 passer rating against the Giants, overthrowing 15 passes and looking lost running the offense. Freeman’s struggles caused many to second-guess whether Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff rushed him into action too soon.
“There’s a lot of different things that go into that,” Freeman said when asked if he was fully prepared. “Looking back, maybe I was a little too fired up at first. There’s definitely a lot of correctable things, things that going into the game I would’ve banked on me being able to complete or get done on the field.”
Frazier attributed Freeman’s erratic passing to breakdowns in his mechanics. Freeman said some of his passes “I could hit in my sleep, but in the game they were maybe a little high.”
“That made it hard on my guys,” he said. “But it’s definitely something that calls for improvement and definitely something that we’re working on day to day.”