Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Freeman ready for Vikings debut on MNF

Posted by: Chip Scoggins under Vikings offense, Vikings quarterbacks, Vikings road games Updated: October 21, 2013 - 3:50 PM

NEW YORK -- The Vikings and New York Giants are a combined 1-10, but Josh Freeman's debut brings an element of intrigue to this Monday Night Football matchup.

As I wrote about for Sunday, Freeman has endured a hectic few weeks as he attempts to resurrect his career.

The Vikings have condensed the playbook for Freeman so that he can learn the offense on the fly. Freeman already had a pretty good grasp of the pass concepts of this system from his college days, but the biggest challenge, he said, is learning new terminology.

“In football, you only have 11 guys and there’s only so much you can do," he said. "But just being able to go into the huddle with confidence and call the play, look over the line of scrimmage with confidence, know what I’m keying off of, understanding the fronts, protections, just kind of bringing it all in for one play. I think that this coaching staff obviously had a plan, a plan as far as, ‘Alright, this is what we’re going to do. We want you to just forget all the other stuff and focus on this exact thing,’ and it’s been really, really good."

Freeman said he's also leaned on his teammates for help. For instance, his wide receivers have let him know how they run certain routes.

"It’s different people stepping up," he said. "It’s the guys on the O-line, Sully (John Sullivan), the wide receivers, talking with Greg (Jennings), talking with Jerome (Simpson). Those guys have a lot of input and insight. Talking to Adrian (Peterson) about different run themes, and talking just with my teammates getting a feel for how they like to do things around here, different scenarios, guys’ strengths, weaknesses because, to be honest, with only one week of practice with guys, it’s hard to really develop the kind of chemistry you’d like to have midway through a season.

"To compensate for that, guys have kind of taken it on themselves to really spend time with me. Kyle Rudolph, a guy that’s an unbelievable tight end, talking with him about his route likes and dislikes and finding ways to get him the ball. Last but not least is the quarterback room. Matt (Cassel) and Christian (Ponder) are constantly giving me advice, telling me about nuances within the offense that could pay dividends in the long stretch."

Kickoff is set for 7:40 p.m. central time.

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