(Photo courtesy of Vikings.com)
Josh Freeman is still the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, coach Leslie Frazier announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Freeman piled up a ton of stats -- all bad -- in Minnesota's 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night, but it wasn't enough to slap a one-and-done tag on him and re-insert Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel as the starting signal caller.
“Josh had a good week of practice for us,” Frazier said, via the Star Tribune. “We felt like we had a good plan going into the game that he would be able to execute. He didn’t play as well as he would’ve liked. I’m sure he’ll tell you that. The ball kind of sailed on him a few different times. But I don’t think it was a lack of preparation.
Freeman had less than two weeks to learn enough of the playbook before making his Vikings debut. He was wildly inaccurate (20-53) and his lack of chemistry with new receivers was easy to see on the field. Frazier didn't see it coming.
"If I had to do it over again, I don't think I'd do it any differently," Frazier said. "Didn't work out for us this time, but our guys are going to continue to battle and get things turned around."
Jim Klobuchar of MinnPost called the decision to start Freeman before he was fully prepared was a "Giant mistake."
Why was he so bad? It wasn't a mental block, according to Frazier.
"It was more mechanical things. His footwork wasn't ideal, his shoulders weren't square all the time... so it was more of the physical stuff," he said.
Starting Freeman wasn't an obligation, Frazier added.
"The only reason the decision was made to start him was because we believed he would give us the best chance to win that ballgame with the Giants. No other reason other than that."
Frazier said the lack of balance had a lot to do with the Giants' superb rushing defense. Peterson was held to 28 yards on just 12 carries.
At the end of the game the stat sheet showed 53 pass attempts to just 13 rush attempts for the reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson.
"We didn't go into it thinking we were going to throw it 53 times," Frazier said. "We do want to be an offense that relies on Adrian Peterson."
Frazier credited the Giants rushing defense, but he also said the offensive line didn't open enough holes for Peterson.
"We're not as effective as we were a year ago at this point. That to me is the biggest difference," said Frazier, comparing Peterson's slow go this season to last season's incredible pace. "We're not able to do certain things on the second level that would help to a degree."
"We definitely have to get our offensive line to get more push up front."