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Mid-day talker: Freeman named starter; Vikings search for QB continuity continues

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: October 16, 2013 - 12:48 PM

 

Well, it's official. Barring anything weird or any kind of injury, Josh Freeman will start for the Vikings on Monday night against the Giants. Coach Leslie Frazier said so on Wednesday, saying he was impressed with Freeman's preparation last week and voicing his belief that Freeman puts the Vikings in the best position to succeed.

 

Frazier made the announcement minutes after media access to Christian Ponder ended. Ponder knew the decision at the time, but he wasn't letting on. Ponder will be the backup Monday, while Matt Cassel -- the starter the past two games -- moves down to No. 3 on the depth chart.

So yes, if you are scoring at home, this will be three different starting QBs in the first six games of the season for the Vikings. That has to be some sort of record, at least when not all of the shuffling is based on injury.

This also means, of course, that the QB shuffle that really started when Daunte Culpepper -- who started 73 of 80 games from 2000-2004 -- was injured midway through the 2005 season continues on.

Freeman will be the 11th player to start at least one game at QB for the Vikings in the regular season or playoffs since then. The list? Brad Johnson, Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Matt Cassel ... and soon to be Freeman.

Only twice in that span has a QB started all 16 regular season games for the Vikings; Favre in 2009 and Ponder in 2012. Both times, the Vikings made the playoffs.

That's not to say riding one QB is the only way to get it done, but recent history suggests quarterback continuity is a key to success.

Look at the last 10 Super Bowl winners: Patriots twice, Steelers twice, Giants twice, Packers, Colts, Saints and Ravens. All 10 teams had stable QB situations when they won. All had QBs who are elite or who played at an elite level when it mattered most in those seasons.

You'll notice the Giants are in that mix. Eli Manning has struggled this season as the team has gone 0-6. But he has started more than 140 consecutive games for New York, and his play is a big reason the Giants have two Super Bowl rings during his tenure.

The Vikings? Well, they're throwing Freeman against a wall and hoping something sticks. If it doesn't, they will truly be right back where they were in 2011, hoping their next choice in a franchise QB finally brings some stability.

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