To late for a do over?
Minnesota decided in the course of the last two weeks to turn to the fourth quarterback to lead the team in the last seven games. Josh Freeman stepped in on Monday Night and was gawd-awful, if that is a serious enough adjective to describe what a national audience witnessed last night.
Others might say roll-overed..
It has become clear to many that Minnesota's issue runs much deeper than who is at the helm of the ship. Christian Ponder, vilified for his indecision and short pass only approach, is suddenly looking like gold. To those of us that watched the entire performance of Freeman, as he set records for futility in an embarrassing loss, we were certain the coach would come to his senses and put in Ponder. Or Cassel. We were sure a change would mean a win vs. a poor New York Giants team.
We just waited.
I must remind the reader that I speak with Purple Love. I am indentured, betrothed, committed.. a Purple loyalist. Since 1970 I have lived with the Vikings being a part of my everyday life. When they won playoff games and dominated the NFC Central, I was there grinning. When they lost tragic games like the ones vs. the Cowboys, Redskins, Falcons, and Saints, I cried. And when they were completely incompetent like the Les Steckel season, or more recent ends in 2011, and this season, then I am angry.
But always a Viking.
Part of me felt bad for Freeman. Being asked to come in to a new system, and start on Monday Night, is a tall task. When the offensive line seems to be allowing more rushers through then a Black Friday Mall opening, you empathize. To the future, I can say that Freeman threw the ball stronger than either Cassel or Ponder. Really strong. Like too strong.
It got to the point that receivers were barely looking up anymore, as if they knew the ball was overthrown.
But I understand why we are committing to Freeman. At 1-5, with the toughest part of the schedule ahead, 2013 is a wash. A disaster. Freeman is young, like Ponder. It was reported than Minnesota coveted Josh prior to his NFL Draft selection by Tampa Bay. We think that Freeman's strong arm will best utilize the Vikings' receiver talent, and thus free up a frustrated Adrian Peterson.
But did we really have to suffer in such a way?
There are a few very good quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. With each poor performance Minnesota moves closer to having another shot at drafting a franchise quarterback. But if that is the case, why did we go and get Freeman? His passer rating was lower than Ponder's, and lower than Matt Cassel. Not to be harsh to Matt, but has anyone noticed how his 2-14 Chiefs' team of 2012 is doing this year with Alex Smith in his stead?
And I am not sure how to feel. I want to say I told you so, Ponder was the best option we had. I want to say Adrian, I think you were wrong about the 2,500 yards. That is probably closer to the amount of fourth quarter yards we will surrender this year. I want to say Leslie Frazier, which coaches are gone? Do we miss Coach Dunbar that much? What happened to our offensive line? How could you not make a change last night?
I am, and always will be a true fan of Minnesota. If they were to not win another game, I wold love them no less. I am in this relationship to the end.
But because I have committed to such a relationship I feel I can also criticize. I am not happy with the effort. In any other world, heads would roll. I have lost faith in the Vikings' management, brain trust, and owner. I think it was foolish to chase bad money after good.
We are free falling, as Tom Petty would say.
And while I do not see hope for this season, I do not want to see the team quit like they did yesterday. Zero points offensively against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Early in the season we were losing because the defense could not stop anyone. Last night the defense played well. It was four turnovers, more three and outs than I can ever recall, more incomplete passes than I can ever remember.
I still love you Minnesota, but you disappointed me greatly.
And I am most worried we cannot fix it.