The Vikings’ play in a 23-7 loss to the Giants on Monday Night was enough visual evidence of dysfunction that you wouldn’t think words would be necessary. But oh, they were necessary. Those who talk about football for a living were not shy in laying into the purple — and particularly the decision to start quarterback Josh Freeman. Here are some examples, which we will neatly divide into four quarters and a postgame:

First quarter

Trent Dilfer, ESPN: “A total lack of discretion and wisdom on the decision to put Josh Freeman in.” Dilfer is saying, essentially, that it was doomed from the start — that even before the game started, it was silly to think Freeman could step in two weeks after being signed and win a game.

Second quarter

Cris Carter, ESPN: “[Freeman] was not ready to play. … They did not have a chance to win that football game.” That statement probably required actually seeing some game action, and make no mistake — that was evident very early on.

Third quarter

Chris Burke, “Minnesota’s call to rush Freeman onto the field backfired in spectacular fashion, aided by an absolutely mind-numbing display of play-calling.” Why yes, it is a good idea to also discuss the flow of the game. When a quarterback throws 50 passes but doesn’t gain 200 yards … when the star running back gets only 13 carries … when a team is on its third QB in six games … it is more than fair to question the wisdom of the plays and direction.

Fourth quarter

Gary Myers, New York Daily News: “The two worst quarterbacks to play at MetLife Stadium this season: Josh Freeman of the Bucs in the season opener against the Jets and Josh Freeman of the Vikings on Monday night.” Ouch, ouch, ouch. That’s just cruel. But a good line. Surely, though, Freeman will get better, right?


Jon Gruden, ESPN: “I don’t see it translating this year, personally. This isn’t Major League Baseball where you just bring a guy in a trade and insert him in the lineup. Too much to decipher, too short of time.” So Gruden is saying it won’t get better at all this year and this whole experiment is doomed? We’ll leave you with that thought.