To paraphrase a recent quote from former Viking QB and Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, the Vikings don't have a quarterback controversy, with a trio of potential (if mediocre) starters, they have a quarterback circus. A three-ring one, in fact.
Coach Leslie Frazier did nothing to clear up the puzzling absence – after a much ballyhooed and expensive signing – of Josh Freeman from the rotation, saying he might play Freeman at some point in the remaining season, or he simply might not.
In any regard, Matt Cassel is starting Sunday, and Christian Ponder is the back-up, according to the coach.
Which has led to all sorts of tea-leaf reading around the league.
ESPN says "it seems increasingly obvious that Freeman isn't doing enough to surpass the Vikings' other quarterbacks."
Yahoo! Sports puts it thusly: "With the Minnesota Vikings officially eliminated from the playoff chase at 3-9-1, the handling of No. 3 quarterback Josh Freeman becomes even more awkward for coach Leslie Frazier and aggravating for the team's fans over the final three weeks of the season."
And the Pioneer Press notes "Freeman declined comment Wednesday. It's possible the quarterback, who signed a $2 million contract for the remainder of this season after being waived by the Buccaneers, won't get into another game for the Vikings."
It's true that Freeman was awful in his one lone start since signing with the Vikings on Oct. 7. He has played on one game, on Oct. 21 against the New York Giants, when he completed just 20 of 53 passes.
But at the same time, Freeman – and some have speculated Frazier, too – was pressured into that start, having barely collected his baggage at MSP airport before he was thrust into duty.
But the fact remains that the Vikings have made him inactive for seven of his 10 games with the Purple, meaning they're paying him $166, 667 to essentially run the practice squad each week.
That's $2 million the team has paid Freeman to play one game. So why not give him one more shot?
"That's a good question, but we made the decision that we're going to give Matt this opportunity," Frazier said, according to Yahoo!. "Hopefully, things will work out. But Josh, he's working hard. He's doing everything he needs to do."