For Freeman, time with Vikings is a comeback

Josh Freeman tries to leave a messy situation behind and step in as Vikings quarterback.

The new guy sitting alone in the bookstore caused some double takes. A few people approached to say hello and welcome him to town.

It’s not often that a starting NFL quarterback takes his playbook to Barnes & Noble for a late-night cram session, but then Josh Freeman’s path to Minnesota has been anything but textbook.

“They realized I was working, so it was cool,” Freeman said. “Everybody was extremely friendly. They were like, ‘We’ll let you get back to studying.’ ”

Minnesota Nice understands the ramifications of the Vikings’ latest quarterback Hail Mary.

In search of a career rebirth at age 25, Freeman has spent nearly every waking hour consuming the Vikings offense since his arrival two weeks ago. At Winter Park; at home; even, in his words, “posted up at Barnes & Noble” until 10 p.m. on the day that he officially became starting quarterback of an organization starved for a long-term solution at that bedrock position.

Freeman begins the next chapter in his career Monday night in what amounts to an 11-game audition to determine whether he will remain in Minnesota beyond this season or continue his career elsewhere. His football résumé at all levels is chock-full of late-game comebacks, and he’s hoping to orchestrate his best comeback yet.

“When times are good,” Freeman said, “you’ve got to really embrace the moment and enjoy it.”

Parting ways

Freeman knows too well what it’s like on the other side. His public divorce from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played out like a soap opera fraught with contentious subplots and a conclusion that seemed inevitable.

He went from team captain and face of the franchise to an outsider the organization no longer wanted. Freeman described his messy exit as a “humbling” experience, but he purposely refrained from slinging mud on his way out of town.

“I try to live, feel, exist in the now,” he said. “All this stuff is going on, and I feel like I’ve got a great sense and perception of what reality is. My reality. Not everybody is going to have the same reality or how they perceive things. I know what the truth is.”

As with most fractured relationships, identifying the truth and assigning blame is complicated. Ultimately, Freeman’s relationship with taskmaster coach Greg Schiano and the Bucs organization disintegrated beyond repair.

Their collision course came into view as unflattering headlines emerged almost daily. Reports were that Freeman overslept and missed the team photo; that players privately believed Schiano rigged voting for team captains to ensure Freeman wasn’t chosen; that the organization fined Freeman more than $30,000 this season for various rules violations, including him agreeing to an unauthorized media interview; that a high degree of mistrust developed between the locker room and head coach.

The breaking point came when someone leaked to the media that Freeman is in the league’s substance-abuse program. Freeman responded forcefully by releasing a statement acknowledging that he became a stage one participant after he accidentally took Ritalin and not his NFL-approved prescription for Adderall to treat ADHD, which triggered a positive test. Freeman noted that he voluntarily agreed to drug testing and that he had passed 46 drug tests.

The NFL and players union plan to investigate the Bucs, hoping to determine who leaked the confidential information. Asked this week about that breach of confidentiality, Freeman’s father, Ron, said, “I don’t want to go there.”

Ron, a former USFL linebacker who also assists with his son’s representation, applauds the way Josh handled his benching and the nastiness of his final days in Tampa.

“Josh stays focused,” he said. “He didn’t become some irate, combative disruption. He simply did what he was told and when the opportunity presented itself to move on, he didn’t have any baggage to pick up and take with him.”

Freeman said he’s “at peace” with everything now and that he still maintains close ties with Bucs players and team employees — cooks, equipment managers, support staff included — whom he calls “my people. Those are my family.”

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
UCF 6:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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