Who is Josh Freeman and why is Leslie Frazier so confident in him?


Three quarterbacks in six games.

That will be a fact come Monday night for the Vikings, with Christian Ponder having started three games, Matt Cassel starting two, and Josh Freeman getting his first chance to lead Minnesota to a win against New York.

Ponder and Cassel had all of training camp to work with Minnesota's first-team offense, while Freeman won the starting job after just one day of practice with Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and the Vikings starters.

So what has head coach Leslie Frazier so enamoured with Freeman after nine days of being a part of The Purple?

Let's see.


History: Freeman was a pro bowler in his second year in the league, 2010, throwing for 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His five fourth quarter comebacks led the league that year, while he led Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record.

Smarts: Frazier has constantly said Freeman is smart and willing to work, adding today at his meeting with the media that Freeman has "hung around the building" and has "put in some long hours" since receiving his playbook last Monday night. On top of that, Freeman's attitude since stepping in the door has been positive, from the press conference introducing him as a member of the Vikings, to being named the starter today.

Pro size and tools: Freeman is 6'6" with the ability and willingness to go downfield. His right arm is a cannon and his 7.3 yards per attempt in 2010 and 2012 both ranked in the top 13 in football, showing a willingness to go deep, something Jerome Simpson and his 16.2 yards per reception could thrive off of.

Extending the play: Freeman may not be traditionally mobile, although he can run a bit, but his ability to stay alive in the pocket and keep his 6'6", 240-pound frame out of the dirt is a plus.

Freeman has never been sacked more than 29 times in a season, and has always ranked outside the top half in most sacked starting quarterbacks in the league, including being sacked 25th-most in 2012.

NEGATIVES: With every point, there is a counterpoint on Freeman.

Recent play: Quite simply, Freeman has been bad the last two-plus years. QB ratings of 74, 81, and 59 from 2011-2013 respectively, and an overall record of 11-23 as a starter in that time.

Mistake prone: 22 interceptions in 2011, 17 in 2012, and three in three games to start this year with Tampa Bay. He also managed 18 picks in nine starts for the Bucs in his rookie year. That's an epic pace of 28 interceptions in a season.

Tampa Bay dismissal: There's two sides to every story, and neither the Bucs nor Freeman have lent a whole lot of insight into what led to a falling out between the two sides. We can't imagine it was anything small though, it takes a lot for a team to give up on a quarterback they invested four years of their franchise in to.

What we do know is Freeman is in the NFL's anti-drug program, and there is a pending investigation into how that information was released to the public. Freeman essentially called the information being released a smear campaign by the Bucs.

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