Freeman happy for Ponder but he wants to play again

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 14, 2013 - 1:13 AM
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Minnesota Vikings' Josh Freeman gives a thumbs up during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press - Ap

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Two weeks ago, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings don’t necessarily need to see Josh Freeman play in another game this season to conclude whether they’d want him to be their quarterback beyond this season.

But what about Freeman? He’s not under contract for next season and the Vikings obviously wouldn’t give him a franchise tag that would come with a salary equal to the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.

Freeman, in other words, has an equal say in this potential long-term relationship. Asked Wednesday if he needs to play again to decide whether he’d like to stick around for 2014 and beyond, Freeman said, “I don’t know. I’ve never really been through a situation like this.

“I don’t know what the plan is on either side,” he said. “Right now, I’m living in the moment and continuing to be the best that I can be for this team.

“It’s kind of a deal where that bridge is far down the road. When we come to it, we’ll take care of it.”

Freeman appears to be stuck behind Christian Ponder, who is coming off his best game of the season and his first victory, a 34-27 win over the Redskins. Ponder left that game late in the third quarter because of a separated left [non-throwing] shoulder, but appears likely to start his fourth consecutive game at Seattle on Sunday.

Ponder was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier hasn’t said if Ponder will start against the Seahawks, but Freeman was asked who took the most quarterback snaps with the first team?

“Christian probably got the majority,” Freeman said. “Glad to see he’s feeling better. I’m just continuing to do whatever they give me, gobble it up and try to be as efficient as possible.”

Obviously, Freeman wants to play again. His only action with the Vikings was a disastrous outing in a 23-7 loss to the Giants on Oct. 21. He completed only 37.7 percent of his passes (20 of 53).

“I’m a competitor,” Freeman said. “You live to play on Sundays. You don’t live to play throughout the week, although practice is a huge part of it leading up to Sundays. It’s a role that they’ve placed on me for now, so I’ll continue to work. But I got to say, it’s been a great run as far as us competing and pushing each other.”

Missing Winfield? … Not really

Had the Seahawks lacked depth at cornerback, former Viking Antoine Winfield probably would be starting in place of the injured Brandon Browner against the Vikings on Sunday. But Seattle is loaded at corner, which is why the 36-year-old Winfield is out of football, after being cut during the preseason.

“I think it’s a statement that we have tremendous depth at the cornerback position,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday during a conference call with Twin Cities media. “He’s a great player. He’s a great kid. It would have been a great spot on our team and we really thought it would work out.

“But as we went through the process, Walter Thurmond had done such a good job and Jeremy Lane had done such a good job, too, that it just made sense to stay with those guys that we had picked up in the program earlier. I miss the heck out of [Winfield] because he’s such a tremendous champion kid and he could help us in a lot of ways. But we just had to go the other way.”

Thurmond, a fourth-round pick in 2010, is 26. Lane, a sixth-rounder in 2012, is 23.

Injury report

Only two Vikings didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, a sign the injury-plagued team benefited from the long weekend because of a Thursday night game. Missing were defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot).

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