Craig: Vikings players commit to Freeman

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2013 - 7:14 AM

Frustration level is high after playing musical chairs with QBs.

Good, bad or 16-point losses to a winless Giants team, the overall sense in the Vikings locker room Monday night was it’s time for the coaching staff to commit to Josh Freeman as the starting quarterback for the final 10 games of the 2013 season.

“I think so,” fullback Jerome Felton said following the 23-7 loss at MetLife Stadium. “You don’t want to switch quarterbacks every couple of weeks. I was a part of doing that in Detroit in 2008 [five quarterbacks, including three starters] and we went 0-16. That’s not what you want to do. So I’m assuming they’ll pick a guy and stick with him.”

It seems to be a safe assumption at this point, although coach Leslie Frazier would not commit to Freeman beyond Sunday’s game against the Packers when asked about the quarterback situation at his Tuesday news conference.

“I don’t know if I’ve thought that far ahead,” he said. “I really haven’t.”

Frazier also said he’s under no obligation from upper management to start Freeman ahead of Christian Ponder (0-3 this season) or Matt Cassel (1-1). But it’s sounding as if he might be obligated to stick with Freeman if he wants to keep his locker room from fracturing from further frustration.

Adrian Peterson, the reigning league MVP and face of the franchise, was asked if his franchise should commit to Freeman for the rest of the season.

“Yeah,” he said. “Commit to him.”

The frustration level of playing with a third different starting quarterback in four games was evident among those players willing to address this situation honestly or at all.

“It’s tough,” Peterson said. “We’re professional athletes, so we have to adjust and get into the swing of things. But we had a couple of plays, a couple of areas, that due to a new quarterback, [we struggled] communication-wise. Those are simple things we should be able to clean up.”

All the sugarcoating on Peterson’s favorite Froot Loops cereal couldn’t make Freeman’s performance on Monday look good. He completed only 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. Frazier said Freeman’s inaccuracy was due more to mechanical issues than the mental challenge of having had only four practices in this offense.

Whatever it was and whether or not it was understandable given the circumstances, it was just plain ugly. The final tally was a 40.6 passer rating — a season low for a Vikings quarterback — and a .377 completion percentage that was the lowest by any NFL quarterback since 2007. And, oh yeah, the Vikings’ offense was held scoreless against a team ranked last in scoring defense (34.8).

“I think it was one of those weeks where Josh got thrown into the fire, and we kind of didn’t answer the call against a team we felt we could beat,” receiver Greg Jennings said. “But we got another opportunity next week.”

Jennings is about to be reminded — again — just how different life with the 1-5 Vikings is compared to what it once was for seven seasons in Green Bay. In seven seasons with the Packers, Jennings played with as many starting quarterbacks as he’s played with in the past four games.

“Yes,” he said, “it’s a different feeling.”

Asked if he thinks it’s time to commit to one quarterback for the rest of the season, he said, “I’m not a player personnel guy. But, yeah, at some point, you got to make a decision and stick with it.”

Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson agreed. Asked if it would help to commit long-term to a quarterback, he said. “It really would so we know who our quarterback is for the week. It would help us out a lot with our rhythm.”

Frazier said he doesn’t sense that the quarterback situation has caused any division in the locker room.

“One of the good things about our guys up to this point is they have been so supportive of every decision, evidenced by the way they played [Monday night],” Frazier said. “As hard as they played and competed throughout, you can tell that those guys are on board.”

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  • Mark Craig's Week 8 Power Rankings

    Wednesday October 23, 2013

    Week 8 Power Rankings1. Colts 5-22. Seahawks 6-13. Broncos 6-14. Chiefs 7-05. 49ers 5-26. Bengals 5-27. Packers 4-28. Patriots 5-29. Saints 5-110. Chargers 4-311. Cowboys 4-312. Jets 4-313. Lions 4-314. Steelers 2-415. Panthers 3-316. Bills 3-417....

  • Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman watched a fourth-quarter pass fall incomplete against the Giants on Monday night.

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Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
NY Mets 8 FINAL
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 0 Top 9th Inning
Texas 6
Oakland 4 Top 5th Inning
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 3 3rd Prd
Vancouver 0
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 28 2nd Half 8:58
Kentucky 60
Xavier 28 2nd Half
Arizona 28
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 57 2nd Half 4:36
UCLA 63
St Marys-CA 68 2nd Half 3:45
Sacramento St 64
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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 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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