The fallout from Minnesota Vikings QB Josh Freeman’s debut clunker against the NY Giants on Monday night, has a stench of drama following him like chitlins in a pot. And it's only getting worse.
No, he's not still throwing incompletions in his sleep. But Freeman suffered a concussion in the game’s third-quarter and played through it. While the Vikings are saying they had no knowledge of the injury. Now, if they were to ignore concussion symptoms, that would be an egregious violation of NFL player-safety procedures. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Leslie Frazier is a better football coach than the kind to ever let that go down.
But maybe the fact that Freeman's his brain was scrambled, explains why he played such a wretched game, Monday with an abysmal 20-53 for 190 yards and a pick. He looked out of it. And now that it’s possible the concussion could have come much earlier in the game, he’s trying to manage a touchy situation.
Perhaps Freeman didn’t begin experiencing the effects until well after the game ended. Concussions are often asymptomatic for a period of time. Reports say, Freeman first felt signs on Tuesday reporting them to the team later that afternoon. The Vikes seem to be in the clear, as far as Minnesota’s staff fulfilling their obligations to Roger Goodell’s strict player safety guidelines.
In any event, it was a selfish and stupid power move by Freeman to not let the team know he was concussed and experiencing symptoms. This is his obligation. Players being honest about their health and allowing team doctors to do their jobs with integrity is a vital part of extending playing careers and limiting brain and spinal injuries.
So it will be interesting to hear what Freeman has to say about it. But the more we see, the more he seems to be lacking as a communicator . And that’s the kiss of death for a QB.
After being considered the future of Bucs football, he handled the Tampa situation in a bizarre and bratty fashion that lead to him getting released.
He wouldn't accept the criticism. Instead he had to prove the Bucs wrong on Monday instead of being honest with himself, and his team. He tried to play Superman in his first start as a Viking.
Two weeks ago, Freeman swooped in, inking a deal and jacking the starting gig from Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. Now, after one miserable game at the helm, Frazier says the team will have to "precede as if (Freeman’s) not going to make it." "Well, the fact that (Freeman is) not able to practice today and you lose today on a short week, makes it tough," Frazier said to foxsportsnorth.com . "We need to get Christian ready to go."
In my opinion, Freeman is in this predicament, because he went for delf and forgot about the other 21 dudes on both sides of the ball. He had personal demons to exorcise, busted pride to repair. And no one was going to get him off of that field, even if his backup was more healthy and able.
However, there are vocal opponents to Minnesota’s decision to even start Freeman. The Bucs’ former anointed savior who went through mental turmoil during his fallout with the squad, hasn’t really practiced and didn’t have more than a few weeks to study the playbook
Former Vikes HOF receiver, Cris Carter, who's now one of ESPN’s NFL gurus, is blaming the front office for this mess. “I think Josh Freeman was forced on Leslie Frazier,” he said on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show. “I think it’s unfair for him to have to coach a football team out there under those conditions. [Freeman] was not ready to play. They did not have a chance to win that football game.”
Strong words considering the Giants team they were playing was 0-6. It’s a further sign that despite having an unstoppable force at running back, things are chaotic in Minnesota. They’re playing musical chairs at QB, and that’s always a recipe for disaster. Ownership seems to be in panic mode and Frazier is simply trying to avoid becoming the latest black HC to fall off the NFL coaching carousel.
The change of scenery was supposed to benefit Freeman and possibly rejuvenate his career. Minnesota has often been a second-chance destination and revival bed for African –American QBs. But all Freeman got out of his inaugural Minnesota start was a busted head and a lot of shade. Although it’s kind of his fault. He's the one who asked out of Tampa Bay and took another $3 million dollars to play for a franchise in similarly dire straits.
Maybe Freeman should have stayed in Tampa, got his act together and won the starting job back. It’s not like Tom Brady was his backup.
Unlike Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham, who found great success with the talent-laden Vikings after leaving other teams, this Minnesota squad is 1-5 with holes on D and a lack of top-caliber offensive weapons (outside of AP).
Freeman's got to be wondering if he really has improved his situation. Right now it seems like he ran from a fire and into a blizzard. And sometimes, we can’t run from our problems. Sometimes coaches have to send a message to light a fire in a player, and the player has to respond by stepping up. Not stepping out. It might all work out in the end, but for now, a common lesson learned for Freeman is: Be careful what you ask for.